Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin looked to be on his way to establishing a dominant run over the 185lbs. division until he ran into the current kingpin of the division: Anderson Silva.
Silva vs. Franklin 1 can very well be described as a dismantling; “The Spider” — then unknown to casual fans — dominated “Ace” from the very first bell, doing most of his work from the clinch and eventually knocking Franklin out with a knee within the first round. Franklin recently appeared on Fighting Words with Mike Straka and discussed the fight in which he relinquished his title, admitting that it is still a hard one to watch.
“I’m a bigger guy than Anderson and when I went into training for that fight, the camp, when we set up our strategy there were certain things that we were banking on, one of them being the clinch work,” said Franklin. “Thinking that I’m bigger than him, I’m stronger than him, so this is not something I’m going to have to worry about. And to go through an entire eight week camp and then to have it unfold that way and then have to reflect on that and say, I can’t believe I was either stupid enough or arrogant enough to think that that is where I was going to win the fight and have completely overlooked that portion of the fight. It’s bothersome.”
Silva and Franklin met once more, at UFC 77 one year later, and Franklin’s strategy looked to be much more effective in the early goings — that is, until Silva rattled him with one of his many pinpoint shots to signal the beginning of the end. Franklin entered the second round on wobbly legs and it wasn’t long before Silva established the clinch again and again finished the fight with knees.
“So, you know, when you go and look at the second fight, there were obviously adjustments that were made for that fight and it came out, obviously it started out a lot differently, and unfortunately, I got clipped in the first round which completely changed the way that I was performing in the second round, but you know, it is what it is,” he said. “That’s one of those things where you say, ‘I’ll never let that mistake happen again.'”
Check out the video of Franklin — now a light heavyweight — discussing that hard-to-watch series of fights.