Former UFC champion Rich Franklin knows what it feels like to step inside the Octagon and face Anderson Silva. When “Ace” first heard about Chris Weidman challenging Silva, he didn’t think much would come about from it.
Now, a year later, and Weidman is wearing the belt Franklin once did, having defeated “The Spider” twice in 2013.
Weidman returns to the Octagon Saturday night at UFC 175 when he faces Lyoto Machida, a former light heavyweight champion, training partner and friend of Silva’s.
During a recent interview with Last Word on Sports, Franklin admitted his initial thoughts on Weidman.
“I wasn’t a big Weidman believer at first,” Franklin said. “But looking at the second Anderson Silva fight, he looked great and had a solid game plan.”
Some have wondered if Machida’s style will give Weidman trouble, but Franklin feels he “matches up with” him.
“He is very patient and I think that if there is any fighter out there who can knock a hole in Lyoto’s game, it would be Chris,” Franklin continued. “I think we are still at a state of Chris Weidman’s game where we are seeing his strategy going in for fights.”
Franklin hasn’t completely closed the door on his own fighting career, but recently accepted an executive job with ONE FC. The promotion currently runs events in Asia.