(Big Dan gives Rich Franklin the old ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ speech.)
Listen up, all you gay skinheads. With a big fight weekend coming up we have a lot of important stuff to get through. So please put down the baby oil and the copy of Mein Kampf and let’s see if we can figure a thing or two out in this edition of Ben vs. Ben.
If he triumphs against Vitor Belfort, Rich Franklin is clearly the man to beat at 195 pounds. Will that mean anything at all? What’s next for the winner and the loser of this one?
BF: At this point I have to assume that either Franklin is just happy to keep getting paid for stepping in the Octagon even if he’s fighting at a non-existent weight class, or else he figures that, with Anderson Silva bouncing between 205 and 185, the safest place to hide is somewhere in the middle. But to answer the question, yes, beating Vitor Belfort, no matter what weight you do it at, still means something.
I’m not one of the people who is ready to say that Belfort is experiencing a career Renaissance just yet. He knocked out a mediocre Terry Martin and an aging Matt Lindland, so I think we should temper our expectations just a bit. Still, he’s a quality opponent on the upswing and it never hurts to beat a guy like that, which I think Franklin will do.
The problem is, after he does it he’s still no better off. He doesn’t have much of a future at 205, where guys like Rashad Evans and probably even Tito Ortiz would block his path to a title. He’s already tried 185 and we know how that story goes, at least as long as Silva is still around. His best hope is to become the guy the UFC can count on for a good fight against whoever, whenever, for as long as he can keep it up. As for Belfort, after losing to Franklin he drops down to middleweight and says those extra ten pounds made all the difference. It’s an obviously bullshit line of reasoning, but that never stopped anyone before.
BG: You know, I hope Vitor Belfort knocks Rich Franklin into a living death so that we can end this 195-pound-division charade. The hope of a safe haven, away from Anderson Silva? It’s a pipe-dream, Rich. He’ll eventually hear about this "catchweight" business, and kick your ass again. You might as well balloon up to 240 pounds and test your fate against Cheick Kongo.