Rich Franklin’s career has seen him rise to the top of the UFC by claiming the middleweight championship. Now, five-plus years removed from wearing gold, “Ace” is hoping for one final run toward the top.
Franklin will begin his new quest back at middleweight when he meets Cung Le at UFC 148 later this year. After a few fights at light heavyweight, Franklin feels this is the best place for him now.
“After the injury (Franklin had shoulder surgery last year), I was talking to Monte Cox and I said what would the UFC think about me moving back down to 185? I think at this point in time, in their minds, if I was able to put a title run together, even if they did do another rematch with Anderson (Silva) and I, there’s been enough time at this point that there would be interest in the fight,” said Franklin, in a recent interview with MMAWeekly.com.
Back in 2006, Franklin dropped the UFC middleweight title to Silva via first round knockout. He defeated Jason MacDonald and Yushin Okami to receive another shot at Silva, but was defeated in his hometown by TKO in the second round.
“That would be my Cinderella story. It would be great. I had one chance at that and fighting in my hometown and all that kind of stuff to regain my title, swing and miss, strike one,” Franklin said. “We’re starting with a good exciting fight, we’ll move forward from there. But that would be my Cinderella story.”
Le will be making his second appearance in the UFC after suffering a loss to Wanderlei Silva in his debut last year. Franklin’s lone fight last year was at 205 pounds, as he lost to ex-champion Forrest Griffin.