Former UFC middleweight champion Rich “Ace” Franklin will return to the cage this weekend against Forrest Griffin, his first time back in the cage since knocking out Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell this past June.
Franklin’s long layoff was the result of a broken arm sustained in his bout with Liddell which required several months of downtime to heal properly. Though Franklin admittedly became restless during his injury-induced layoff, “Ace” recently told MMAJunkie.com that his forced vacation may have been a good thing, at least for his mental state.
“Fortunately everything went as planned,” Franklin said. “Now, breaking an arm is not like messing up a joint [or] tearing a ligament and a knee or messing up a shoulder or something like that. I didn’t really have any real rehab; the only thing with a break is that you have time down. So for me it was the fact of sitting for 10 weeks and not really being able to do much with the arm until I got the cast off and was able to work it out and stuff like that again. … And often times it takes an injury for guys like us to take some time off. And it is mentally refreshing at times … just to relax a little bit.”
Franklin will be taking on fellow fan-favorite fighter Forrest Griffin (also fresh off of an injury layoff) in his return to the cage and the popular story line heading into the bout is that the two share virtually identical fighting styles. In addition to having similar styles, Griffin and Franklin share a friendly relationship, one that Franklin does not believe will be affected by their impending UFC 126 battle.
“I would consider him a friend,” Franklin told MMAJunkie about Griffin. “And I’d say that we have the kind of relationship that after the fight, it doesn’t really matter who wins or loses. You could see the two of us possibly hanging out together – grabbing a drink together or something like that. I don’t drink or anything but, the point is made.”
Franklin and Griffin will square off in the co-main event of UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort, which goes down this Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Don’t forget to check back at FightLine.com for live, ongoing coverage of the event.