Ever the company man, Rich Franklin bowed out of his planned July bout against Cung Le to fill in for an injured Vitor Belfort against Wanderlei Silva in the main event of UFC 147 later this month.
Known for towing the company line and filling in where the UFC needs him, even Franklin admitted his trepidations at changing his opponent (especially to one he’s faced and narrowly defeated before) and bumping up the date of his fight on short notice.
“Initially, I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to fill in this spot,” Franklin told BJPenn.com. “I was in Singapore on the complete opposite side of the earth preparing for a specific kind of opponent. My prep was cut two weeks, and I had to get on a plane immediately to come home and make adjustments necessary.
“I’ve been home a day and a half, and we have yet to do a tape breakdown on Wand again. That’s like night and day. Southpaw to conventional, aggressive vs. passive, and their styles are completely different.”
Franklin also believes Silva has the easier adjustment, since he’s keeping the same fight date and taking on a fighter with similar attributes to his original opponent. But, despite the deck being stacked against him, Franklin is confident he’ll emerge the victor when all is said and done.
“In my opinion, not much honestly,” Franklin said of how much Silva has to adjust. “We are both well rounded southpaw strikers, so in that sense the switch is a bit advantageous for Wand. If I didn’t think I could win this fight, I would not have accepted it.”
Franklin and Silva will meet at the top of the UFC 147 fight card, which takes place on June 23 at the Estádio Jornalista Felipe Drumond in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.