In unfortunate news for fight fans, it was recently revealed that Antonio Rogerio Nogueira had been forced out of his planned UFC 133 fight against Rich Franklin with a shoulder injury.
Shortly after that announcement was made, it was announced that Franklin would be removed from the bout altogether as a result of not being given a suitable replacement opponent. In a recent interview with MMAFighting.com, UFC president Dana White told Ariel Helwani that “Ace” was presented with a replacement opponent, but not one which the 36-year-old former champion saw to be fitting.
“It’s not that we decided to take him off the (UFC 133) card, we were looking at other opponents and we had another opponent for Rich, but Rich didn’t want to take that fight,” said White. “He said ‘You know what man, I’m at a stage in my career where I only want to fight the top of the heap, the top name guys.’ I don’t blame him. You know me, when we’re looking to make a new fight and we have people available and an opponent there, I expect that you should take that opponent, but I don’t disagree with Rich’s position on it.
“It was Gustafsson,” he went on. “He’s like, ‘Listen man, I’ve been around forever, I’ve been a world champion, I’m switching the fight this soon, I want to fight one of the top guys.’ He wants to get back in position to take on some of the top competition in the UFC.”
Uninjured and fresh out of a training camp, Franklin will likely be looking to jump into the cage as soon as possible — especially considering that his last fight ended in an unsatisfying decision in Forrest Griffin’s favor.