Forrest Griffin At UFC 86 Weigh-InsIt looks like three of the biggest names in mixed martial arts are going to be spending the better half of 2009 on the bench.

We already knew about Cro Cop’s knee injury, but now reports have surfaced that Xtreme Couture’s biggest stars—Randy Couture and Forrest Griffin—are both recovering from injuries that will keep them out of action for at least the first half of the year.

First, the good news is Cro Cop has undergone knee surgery and it was deemed a success. Never a man of many words, Mirko had only this to say about the surgery.

I feel good. Surgeon visited me and said that everything went fine.

As mentioned before, Cro Cop’s recovery will sideline him for six months after which he is expected to continue fighting for DREAM with a possible return to the Octagon in his future. Oh, and all that retirement talk may have been misinterpreted.

Now for the bad news. During his recent fight with Rashad Evans, Forrest Griffin broke his hand, and unfortunately, it appears the injury is much worse than initially thought. According to The Sun, the injury required the insertion of several pins into Forrest’s hand to aid in the healing process which could keep him out of the Octagon for the majority of the year.

Griffin was originally set to be out of action until May but industry insiders told SunSport he will not be back inside the Octagon until Autumn at the earliest.

Rampage Jackson wanted a rematch with Forrest following his win over Wanderlei Silva, but with that fight now off the table, that should pretty much seal the deal for Rampage Jackson to settle for a crack at the title he held only six months ago.

Quick update: MMA Weekly is reporting that Forrest expects to make his return sometime this summer.

And last but not least, here’s the disturbing news. Those hoping to see living legends Randy Couture and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira go at it in the Octagon are going to have to be patient for just a little while longer. Apparently, the rumors prior to UFC 91 that Couture was coming into the fight with significant injuries weren’t entirely false. Obviously, Randy still fought, but not without the nastiest injury I can remember anyone fighting with.

“I had to,” Couture, who turns 46 in June, said via text message. “Had to have my left elbow scoped. There were two loose bodies in there! Old nagging injury.”

A pair of abnormally large bone spurs were removed from The Natural’s elbow on Thursday. While training for his failed UFC heavyweight title defense in November against Brock Lesnar, Couture aggravated the joint, which was mined for a pair of 16-centimeter spurs.

16 cm’s…that’s an astonishing 6.3 inches for you non-metric folks! It’s a wonder those things didn’t pop out of his elbow and stab Brock back in November. As for the potential fight with Nog, Couture says he still wants it, but between his recovery and his role in Sly Stallone’s new movie The Expendables which is set to begin shooting in March, it doesn’t sound like we’ll be seeing Couture vs Nogueira until sometime later this summer at the earliest.