So if a hidden camera were following Max Griffin around the streets of his California home, what could they expect to see?
“I'm a madman,” Griffin laughs. Even as the words leave his lips, his laidback delivery tells you immediately that he’s kidding.
“What am I doing? I'm probably chilling. Chilling out with my family. But this is what you get. I'm the same here now. I’m funny. Eating, probably some really good food. I love food. I'm the foodie of the UFC.”
To that end, he already has a pizza in mind that he’ll be having delivered to his Las Vegas hotel room following is co-main event bout vs Tim Means this Saturday at UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Allen. And if there’s any chance of sighting the “madman” side of Griffin, that’s where it will be: the Octagon in the UFC APEX.
“Great fan favorite kind of fight,” he agrees “A fight that the fans want to see. Two guys that really bang it out and will give it their all.”
He doesn’t contain his excitement at the prospect of clashing with his fellow welterweight veteran.
“When I got the Tim Means fight, I felt good. I like Tim Means. Formidable opponent. Tough guy. Big name. A name everybody knows. I didn't know where they put me after my last fight. But Tim Means fights excellent. Excellent choice.”
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Just like his opponent, Griffin is coming off a difficult loss that snapped a three-fight win streak. Griffin’s was a particularly bitter pill to swallow: a narrow split decision loss to Neil Magny last March.
“The Magny one was tough, especially because Mick Maynard came back out to the fight and said ‘Hey, me and Dana thought you won. We're going to give you your win money.’ So it was really weird. That one burned in my side. That one still burns.
“But I use that burn to move forward. Really worked my ass off. I haven't ever worked so hard since that fight. I made big gains. And you'll see when I fight Tim Means Saturday night.”
And would a win over Means finally cool that burn?
“I mean…I'm going to beat Tim Means anyway, but this is going to make it worse for him.”
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At age 36 and in the peak physical condition of his career, Griffin is eager to showcase not only what he’s done in the gym, but what he’s done between his own ears.
After a bumpy 1-4 run between 2018 and 2020, Griffin added a mental coach to his arsenal, a decision he credits, at least in part, for the successful run that followed.
“Mentally, I've hit another level. I got my mental coach about a month before that streak and we're just pushing and getting better. I'm figuring out my way.
“People work out, people have a strength coach, or they lift weights or whatever. But your mind controls your energy, and your mind controls your whole body. So why not think the right way?
“We use a lot of strategies to get better and be more efficient with what you're doing, having the right habits, having the right mindset. I so believe in having a mental coach.”
The resulting wins—and even the narrow loss—are in and of itself an endorsement for having a guide for the psychological aspects of mixed martial arts, particularly in a division as wild as 170 pounds. With a raised hand Saturday and subsequently wins in four of his last five, what does the road ahead look like for “Pain”?
“It's a s*** show on the rankings side. So I'm here to fight the big names and get paid. I want to get these fights done. I want to keep moving forward. Keep moving. Keep fighting.”