After suffering defeat twice at the hands of Anderson Silva at 185 pounds, former middleweight champion Rich Franklin (25-5) eventually moved to the light heavyweight division and beat Matt Hamill in his first fight at 205 pounds at UFC 88 in 2008. In an interview with CagePotato.com, Franklin talked about the weight class that makes the most sense and his bout with Chuck Liddell at UFC 115 tonight.
“The UFC has repeatedly told me that they aren’t interested in seeing me fight at 185 any more,” Franklin explained. “Because of that, I moved up to 205. It all comes down to the fact that they didn’t want to do a Franklin-Silva III.”
“I’m a ‘never say never’ type of guy, but the problem is that if the UFC doesn’t want to see me do a title match at 185, ultimately I would be stuck fighting in that weight class without ever being able to fight for a title again, which would make no sense since that is the whole reason we do this and the goal we work towards as fighters.”
Franklin has fought at a catchweight of 195 pounds on two recent occasions with Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson because Belfort and Henderson have both competed at middleweight and light heavyweight in the past. Franklin lost both fights and aims to steer clear of fighting at a catchweight in the future.
“Fighting at 195 isn’t that bad for me physically because I can cut down to that weight without cutting into the muscle that I have. If I cut back down to 185, it’s a completely different cut to make it and I will have completely undone everything I’ve done to put on the size I have. I want to make a run for the title and I don’t want to keep doing things that are counterproductive to that, like fights at 195.”
Coming off a loss to Belfort in September, Franklin will face Liddell at UFC 115 tonight in Vancouver, British Columbia. Liddell has struggled in his recent fights but is always a formidable opponent with his knockout power and experience.
“You can’t count Chuck out of any fight. Yeah, he hasn’t fought in a year, and yeah, he’s lost four of his past five fights, but look at what he’s done over the span of his career,” Franklin asserts. “He’s a legend and he has beaten such an incredible list of opponents, it would be a huge mistake to look past a guy like him.”
After this showdown between former champions, only one will find himself a big step closer to capturing past glory and a UFC crown.