Rich Franklin is a former UFC champion and has been inside the Octagon with the best of the best.
So, when Franklin was asked at a recent Q&A with fans who could beat current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, is answer was simple: Jones himself.
“I think the only person who can beat Jon Jones at this point in time is himself. He’s a young guy, the world is coming at him fast and I think his game is whether or not he can maintain focus,” Franklin said. “I remember the first time I met Jon in person…there was a group of fighters and I was walking up to the group and Jon’s back was to me. As I walked up to him I was looking at him and thinking, ‘Who is this heavyweight?’ I kept walking around and around and I was like, ‘Oh my word, he’s enormous!’ To kind of put things in perspective, he has an 84-inch reach. Tim Sylvia, who is four inches taller than him, has an 80-inch reach. To deal with that kind of reach is insane. I think if he can keep his head straight he’ll run that division for a while.”
Jones, just 24 years old, has won four straight fights since a DQ loss to Matt Hamill and is 13-1 in his career. He will defend his title for the first time since defeating Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 128 on September 24 at UFC 135: Jones vs. Rampage.
Franklin (28-6) has not fought since falling to Forrest Griffin in early 2011. He has been rumored to be involved in talks to face Tito Ortiz at the first UFC on FOX card set for November.
Franklin has stated that the UFC wants him to remain at 205 pounds and not drop down to 185, where he was the middleweight champion in 2005.