With post-apocalypse prep completed, Forrest Griffin now focused on UFC 126

By Steven Marrocco

It’s been a long time since former UFC light-heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin stepped inside the cage, and truth be told, he’s been dreading his return as much as he’s been craving it.  After six years of near constant fighting and training, he had no choice but to sit on the bench for much of this past year. His shoulder was shot, and there was no way he could compete. Yes, it was nice to do things other than fighting: spend time with the wife, go hiking in the mountains around Las Vegas, prepare for the apocalypse. You know, the usual stuff.

It was inevitable, though, that he would return to the octagon. And now that Griffin’s moment has arrived, he’s a little nervous about what’s going to happen when the cage door closes.

This is the cage rust every fighter fears, and it’s about to smack Griffin (17-6 MMA, 8-4 UFC) in the face this Saturday when he meets former middleweight champion Rich Franklin (28-5 MMA, 13-4 UFC) in the co-main event of UFC 126, which takes place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

Franklin has trained much of his adult life to manage his stress response – the wave of adrenaline that precedes a fight and a subsequent flood of chemicals that the body releases to compensate. But aside from the sympathetic rush he’s gotten from watching fights during his layoff, it’s been more than a year since he felt that real rush. And who knows what will happen when it comes?

“It was too long, and too long without competing,” he recently said. “This is most ring rust I’ve ever had. I’m not excited about it.”

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