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Exclusive: Rich Franklin Plans Run At UFC Light Heavyweight Title

(What has one pinky and one thumb up and wants a  title shot? This guy!)

Speaking exclusively with 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."

Cagepotato Comments

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robthom- April 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm
Everybody needs a dream.

I'll never give up hope of one day eating Gina Carano's butt.
Mr_Misanthropy- April 23, 2010 at 12:46 pm
If Rich drops to Bantam-weight for the WEC I will tattoo his name above my ass as a tramp-stamp. Franklin vs. Torres? That has PPV blockbuster written all over it!
macreadysshack- April 23, 2010 at 10:28 am
Hey, you guys, Rich Franklin has been fighting since the begining of MMA. Since the eve of MMA's conception, the Griffen/Bonnar big bang. How'd you like to go home and tell your mamma that a Pet Detective beat your ass?
831 Father- April 23, 2010 at 9:53 am
@ghostboner: "I heard..." No, you didn't. You just read it off various other MMA sites and quickly came back here to try to "break the news" in an unrelated story. That starved for attention?
sp00ki kabuki- April 23, 2010 at 9:33 am
does anybody remember that rich fought lyoto in 2003... and lost
Slug Trail- April 23, 2010 at 8:52 am
The decision against Wandy was the right call, unlike the decision loss he had to Henderson.
Slug Trail- April 23, 2010 at 8:51 am
Franklin is the man. I think he could crack the top 5 of the division. I would love to see him win the title but that might be an unachievable goal at this point.
Ratel- April 23, 2010 at 8:35 am
I'm a Franklin fan, but he didn't look too intelligent getting knocked out by Belfort in the first minute. I also agree with those who feel he lost to Wandy when they locked horns. It looks like Ace is on the downslope of his career in the UFC, along with Chuck. Just once though, I want one of these guys to withdraw gracefully, with dignity.
superflat- April 23, 2010 at 8:29 am
Rich could do it. He's by no means the quickest or strongest fighter at 205, but he fights so intelligently these days. You can see someone like Bones crushing him, but on the other hand, Franklin's maturity might allow him to eke some key decisions or capitalize on a mistake.
Ratel- April 23, 2010 at 8:14 am
dranokills - nice work on cloiselle.

franklin has as much chance of getting past jones as trigg does of getting past gsp.

mma/ufc has come far enough that we're seeing the old guard pass over to the new guard, which is a good thing for the sport. too bad it's so rough on the fans sometimes.
LockDown- April 23, 2010 at 8:12 am
@Ratel WEC? WTF?

I like Franklin but looks like he has no room in UFC anymore.
CapitalQ- April 23, 2010 at 7:43 am
Kimbos Bread +100... comment of the week. Enjoy your shirt!
MoonBelly- April 23, 2010 at 7:33 am
The WEC hasn't had a weight class over 155 is quite some time. I know it's hard to keep up wit the "Ultimate Fighting" thing though. Maybe you can consult Bob Arum's MMA wiki site to get you up to speed.
Chri534.- April 23, 2010 at 7:21 am
Hey Mike, with a title like this, don't you think you should have included that footnote somewhere in the article?
Badger- April 23, 2010 at 6:58 am
@ Goog

Good point. Hilarious.
Goog- April 23, 2010 at 6:56 am
Ol' Rich should plan a run at the Win Column first and see if that ever gets any legs.
rlh61- April 23, 2010 at 6:55 am
Hey, guys, a lot of the popularity of the sport today was built on guys like Chuck and 'bout a little love?

Ratel...WEC isn't an option for Rich. He can't cut low enough to fight in the classes WEC has.
dranokills- April 23, 2010 at 6:50 am
I was going to write something fun and clever but cloiselle came along with his poison shitpen of conspiracy bullshit and fucked up my karma.
hey cloiselle if you recall the last topic where all the guys discussed where they keep their tools? Why don't you go jump in said place, you belong there.
Fucking Dana White hating, bloodyelbow reading...strikeforce watching...six sandwich eating, scooby do watching MOFO!
2gq4u- April 23, 2010 at 6:27 am

no chance. zero. fantasy.
Stak40- April 23, 2010 at 6:22 am
Seriously. I am not sure why CP has even chosen to waste thier time writing about a "Hasbeen" that is about to fight another "Hasbeen" and his quest to reach a belt thats is profoundly out of his reach. Is there nothing else happeining in MMA right now?
Badger- April 23, 2010 at 6:18 am
@ cloiselle

If I put myself in Rich's shoes, I would rather be told to move to a different weight class (where I MIGHT have a title shot) rather than be in the dark, fighting at 185, hoping for a title shot while Dana sits in his office calling me a moron for thinking I have chance at the title.

It seems weird for us to hear that Dana is telling fighters what weight to fight, but Dana is concerned about increasing viewers. Increased viewers generally correlates to bigger paychecks for the fighters responsible for the increase. Sometimes Dana's controlling way is the right way.
CAP10- April 23, 2010 at 6:03 am
Remember, under Obama's plan the UFC will be required to pay for Franklin's health insurance. No way they want him fighting Silva again.
Ratel- April 23, 2010 at 5:58 am
Things aren't looking good for Ace. Squeezed out of middleweight, and who's he going to beat in LHW? Other than Jardine or Vera (as andoy162 said.)

Looks like Ace will be moving to Strikeforce or WEC, since he's gonna get smashed in the UFC. After he beats Liddell, he's finished. Best to leave the UFC on a high note, dude.
justscrappin- April 23, 2010 at 5:52 am
If you all remember Rich started his career at lhw. Then he got with Billy Rush, and with amazing amounts of discipline was able to cut something like 30lbs. I remember hearing that Rich is bigger then Rashad. Back in the day he was weighing in the 215-220 range. After cutting to MW for awhile...I bet he stayed closer to he stated here he had to add some weight again to feel stronger at lhw. He was a huge mw though...but as someone else said...with younger, faster guys coming down the pipe like Jones, ( and his freakish reach advantage) I just don't see it turning out well for him. Too bad...Franklin seems like a real class act.
andoy162- April 23, 2010 at 4:57 am
ufc told him that they are not interested in seeing me fight in the 185division because they know anderson silva is going to kill me and give me a bad nose job again.
they are intertested in getting me beat up by other guys in the lhwdivision, namely bones jones, rua, machida, couture and little nog.
it seems like the only fighter rich is going to beat in the lhw division is keith jardine or brandon vera.
title belt???? NOT !!!!