For Rich Franklin, figuring out exactly where he fit in the UFC was a difficult prospect. Now, “Ace” is primed and positioned to compete at middleweight with a bout set for later this year against Cung Le. In Le, Franklin will be looking to shake off several months of rust, having not competed since early in 2011 against Forrest Griffin due to a serious shoulder injury.
Franklin (28-6) is a former middleweight champion who lost the title to current champ Anderson Silva back in 2006. After getting another crack at “The Spider,” Franklin was unable to solve him, falling for a second time by way of brutal strike-baed stoppage.
“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,” said Franklin of making a final run at the belt in an interview with MMAWeekly Radio. “We’re starting with a good exciting fight, and we’ll move forward from there. But that would be my Cinderella story.”
Silva earned a first round KO and a second round TKO over Franklin, the latter coming in Franklin’s hometown of Cincinnati. Since those meetings, the explosive Brazilian has dominated the 185-pound division while Franklin has spent time competing at a heavier weight. With his return to middleweight he feels like he’s back where he should be.
“After the injury, I was talking to (manager) Monte Cox and I said, ‘What would the UFC think about me moving back down to 185,” Franklin explained of his drop back down. “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 and I, there’s been enough time at this point that there would be interest in the fight.”
Franklin will face Le on July 7 at UFC 148.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC