(What has one pinky and one thumb up and wants a title shot? This guy!)
Speaking exclusively with CagePotato.com on Thursday afternoon, Rich Franklin revealed that his days as a middleweight in the UFC are likely numbered and that he is planning on making the best of his new permanent home at light heavyweight by working towards a title shot in his final five fights on his contract.
According to the former UFC middleweight champ, the decision to abandon the weight class he once reigned over in the Octagon was not entirely a personal one.
"The UFC has repeatedly told me that they aren’t interested in seeing me fight at 185 any more. Because of that, I moved up to 205. It all comes down to the fact that they didn’t want to do a Franklin-Silva III," Franklin explains. "I’m a ‘never say never’ type of guy, but the problem is that if the UFC doesn’t want to see me do a title match at 185, ultimately I would be stuck fighting in that weight class without ever being able to fight for a title again, which would make no sense since that is the whole reason we do this and the goal we work towards as fighters."
Having fought his last two fights at a catchweight of 195 pounds because of both previous opponents’ inability to make 185, Franklin says although he was comfortable fighting at that weight, doing so didn’t help his ultimate goal of earning a title shot at 205.
"Fighting at 195 isn’t that bad for me physically because I can cut down to that weight without cutting into the muscle that I have. If I cut back down to 185, it’s a completely different cut to make it and I will have completely undone everything I’ve done to put on the size I have. I want to make a run for the title and I don’t want to keep doing things that are counterproductive to that, like fights at 195."
Standing in the way of his run at Lyoto Machida‘s belt is former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, who Franklin will face at UFC 115 on June 12 in Vancouver. Paying little attention to the critics who have written "The Iceman" off before the pair even touch gloves, Franklin says he expects Liddell to be ready and looking to prove all of his detractors wrong, come fight night.
"You can’t count Chuck out of any fight. Yeah, he hasn’t fought in a year, and yeah, he’s lost four of his past five fights, but look at what he’s done over the span of his career," Franklin asserts. "He’s a legend and he has beaten such an incredible list of opponents, it would be a huge mistake to look past a guy like him."