Tyson Griffin was born in the San Francisco Bay Area where he was the middle of 3 boys raised by a single mom. Although friends found themselves getting into trouble and heading down the wrong path Tyson managed to stay clear by playing sports after school and on the weekends. Tyson admits ‘The only reason I kept C’s in high school was so I could play sports the next season’.
Tyson’s outstanding athleticism was evident from an early age. He played everything from soccer and ice hockey to being a member of a local family bowling league where he scored his first game over 200 at 10 years of age. In high school he was named one of 2002’s 100 top athletes in The Contra Costa Times.
After high school Tyson wrestled at Santa Rosa Junior College in Santa Rosa, CA where he also enrolled in the kinesiology program. After a year he became disinterested in academics and decided to hit the workforce. After doing tile work and other jobs he eventually found himself framing and remodeling homes for a friend’s company in Santa Rosa. It was also Santa Rosa that would introduce him to the world of MMA.
Tyson knew of Dave Terrell, a professional MMA fighter and owner of Nor Cal Fighting Alliance, through the junior college wrestling program and heard about the toughness of the wrestling practices. Working all day and not training, Tyson decided to take advantage of the situation and go to a takedown class at Nor Cal. After struggling through the first session he began studying boxing, wrestling and jiu-jitsu classes. He was instantly hooked!
Showing tremendous potential and ability, Dave Terrell invited Tyson to train MMA at Caesar’s Gracie Training Academy in Concord, CA. His first few training session had him working with Jake Shields, Gilbert Melendez, Gil Castillo, Nick and Nate Diaz and , of course, Dave. Even though Tyson didn’t closely follow the sport he soon became a fan of MMA. As Tyson became a fan he realized some of his training partners are considered some of the best fighters in the world. It was then he knew professional fighting was in his future.
Starting his MMA career with his first fight at the Gladiator Challenge, Tyson stopped his opponent, Ryan Frost, at 1:16 of the 1st round with a TKO. For the next 2 years every time Tyson stepped into the cage he stepped out a winner. His exploits caught the attention of PRIDE, Strikforce and UFC. Tyson first competed in Strikeforce and ultimately signed with the UFC. Tyson’s first UFC fight came on the UFC 63 (Hughes vs. Penn II) undercard. Tyson submitted David Lee in under two minutes by Rear Naked Choke. It started a trend as Tyson was awarded Submission of the Night by the UFC. Tyson also earned a record 5 Fight of the Night awards.
The opportunity to train at Xyience Center in Las Vegas was offered to Tyson as he geared up for his fight with Krazy Horse Bennett (who later dropped out of the fight resulting in Tyson fighting Chuck Kim). There he met Mike Pyle, Jay Hieron, Gray Maynard and Forrest Griffin. Tyson enjoyed the training camp and the results showed up in the cage as Tyson dominated and overmatched Chuck Kim. Tyson returned to Las Vegas before fighting Duane “Bang” Ludwig in Strikeforce and again Griffin dominated the favored more established Ludwig. He made the trip a third time to prepare for his UFC debut against David Lee. It was after that fight Tyson made Las Vegas his permanent home. Once in Las Vegas Tyson became an original team member of the Xtreme Couture MMA Center training with MMA legend Randy Couture. Randy Couture and Tyson’s personal boxing coach former professional boxer Rosendo Sanchez are Tyson’s primary coaches today.
Tyson Griffin continues to prove to be one of the best 155lbs. fighters in the UFC and the world. He has positioned himself as a contender and the deepest, most talent-laden division in all of MMA. Griffin has accomplished a lot in the sport of MMA and at 26 years old the future is very bright