Mixed martial artists Tyson Griffin and Gray Maynard train together almost daily in an effort to achieve their goals.
It just so happens it’s the same goal.
Maynard and Griffin train at Xtreme Couture and will be in action on the Ultimate Fighting Championship card in Chicago tonight.
The two Las Vegas-based fighters are working to eventually win the UFC’s lightweight title.
“We’ll deal with that when we get there,” Griffin said of the possibility of one fighter winning the belt before the other.
Tonight, Griffin will take on former champion Sean Sherk. A win would propel him into the mix of contenders in the loaded 155-pound division.
“It puts me in line for title contention,” Griffin said. “Whether it puts me in line to fight for the No. 1 contender spot or gets me right in to fight for the belt is not really up to me.”
Griffin has won his last four fights, all by decision. The 24-year-old has lost once in his career and is the only man to defeat World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight champion Urijah Faber.
Clearly, Griffin is closer to a title shot than his gym-mate.
“It gets brought up, but I don’t really think about it,” Griffin said of potentially reigning over the division that contains his friend.
“We’re not there yet, so why even worry about it,” Maynard said.
Maynard, 29, was born in Las Vegas and lived here through middle school. He moved to Ohio for high school and wrestled for Michigan State.
“I think there’s probably about a group of eight to 10 that are really good,” he said of the lightweight division. “It’s going to take some time to see who’s going to beat who.”
Maynard takes on veteran Rich Clementi tonight. Maynard says his only plan at this time is to take care of that challenge.
Another UFC lightweight, Mac Danzig, also trains at Xtreme Couture. Maynard joked that the gym needs to stop bringing in so much talent and creating the potential fight conflicts that come with it.
For now, the future of the belt is in limbo. Lightweight champion B.J. Penn next will fight welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre in a mega-fight, likely on Jan. 31. Penn’s plans beyond that are contingent on the outcome of that fight.
Another champion, Anderson Silva, will defend his middleweight title against Patrick Cote in the main event of tonight’s card.
The card also features a welterweight contender match between Josh Koscheck and Thiago Alves. Fabricio Werdum will face Junior dos Santos in a heavyweight tilt.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@ reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509.