Former UFC Middleweight Champion and fan favorite fighter Rich “Ace” Franklin returned to the win column on June 12th with a first round knockout victory over MMA legend Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell. Unfortunately for “Ace,” he took on a highly motivated and focused Liddell who looked better in the first round of their fight than he had in years and managed to put Franklin on his heels (up until the knockout punch) and even broke his arm with a powerful kick. Franklin bounced back from a September 2009 loss to Vitor Belfort with the win and was looking forward to returning to the Octagon sooner rather than later but since the broken arm possibly required surgery a quick turnaround for “Ace” seemed unlikely. However, it seems as though Franklin’s turn of good fortune is continuing as his business manager, J.T. Stewart told MMAJunkie today that Franklin’s arm will not require surgery and that we could possibly see Franklin return to the Octagon in December or January.
“He needed to make sure it healed correctly,” Stewart said. “He was feeling good. A few days before (the doctor’s appointment), he was telling some people, ‘I don’t think I’m going to need surgery. It’s feeling pretty good.'”
Franklin had his full-arm cast removed and replaced by a lighter, smaller cast and will be restricted as to what he can do in the gym but although “he is not real happy about that” he and his camp acknowledge that “it could have been worse.” Had Franklin’s arm required surgery, Stewart says that it would have been intensive and would have kept him out of action for some time.
“If it hadn’t healed correctly, they would have had to probably re-break or reset it and put it back in a big cast,” Stewart said. “It would have been a setback.”
Franklin has bounced back and forth between catchweight bouts of 195lbs and light heavyweight bouts and has also flipped back and forth from the win column to the loss column for his past several fights. A true company man, “Ace” was happy with his win over Liddell and is looking forward to returning to the Octagon and making his way towards a light heavyweight title shot.
“I think he’s definitely motivated,” Stewart said. “I think he was excited about how the (UFC 115) fight ended and that it was Chuck Liddell, a legend and Hall of Famer who’s so well-respected. Rich respects him a lot.”