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Rich Franklin Heading Back to Light-Heavyweight?

(Rich and some of his “fishing buddies” at the Cornhole Throwdown.)

According to his manager Monte Cox, former UFC middleweight champ Rich Franklin is considering a move back up to light-heavyweight, due to his defeats against Anderson Silva and because beating any remaining contenders in the UFC’s middleweight division would be bad for the league. Franklin competed at light-heavyweight for the first 19 matches of his 27-fight career, suffering only a single loss at 205 to Lyoto Machida in 2003. Said Cox:

“He’s fought almost everybody in the 185-pound division. There are some guys that he could fight, but if he beats them it knocks them out of title contention. And nobody is looking to see Rich and Anderson Silva 3 right now, including me…He’s not helping the 185-pound division right now by beating everybody up in it…We’ve talked about going to 205 and how would he match up with some of those guys, with a Forrest Griffin or a Keith Jardine. I think there’re some really good fights. There’s a whole bunch of 205′s that I think would be interesting.”

Agreed, for the most part. You wouldn’t want to put Franklin up against Michael Bisping, and have Ace knock off the last remaining marketable contender to Silva’s belt. But it would be a tragedy if Franklin left the 185-pound division before taking on Dan Henderson — though with few logical fights out there for Henderson as a middleweight, Hendo may eventually move back up to light-heavy as well, so who knows.

What’s more certain is the financial logic behind such a move. Just before his UFC 77 rematch with Anderson Silva, Franklin signed a six-fight deal that would pay him more than the $45,000 base salary he was previously bringing in, beginning with his next fight. Salary figures from UFC 83 haven’t been released, so we don’t know the exact figure at this point, but if Franklin’s per-fight salary is now approaching the six-figure mark, the UFC would want to put him in high-profile fights to draw more revenue from pay-per-view buys and live gate. Booking Franklin against Travis Lutter probably doesn’t represent the best return on investment, in other words. But with the UFC’s light-heavyweight division packed with stars, there are a lot of big-money matchups to be made at 205. Who wouldn’t want to see Ace take on the loser of Rampage/Forrest?

Cagepotato Comments

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Anonymous- September 17, 2008 at 12:08 pm
you guys said chuck will knock rich franklin 's head off an rampage will kill rich franklin i think all of you guys are wrong franklin will beat chuck an rampage an franklin will destroy jardine an beat wandy
not to mention- April 30, 2008 at 7:42 pm
i agree with bundy says and hendo would greco franklins ass and pound his face in. TUF noobs just don't know henderson's power and skill because they only saw two of his fight which were against the best LHW and MW and the rampage fight could go both ways and he was beating silva in the first round
Bundy- April 30, 2008 at 6:36 pm
I dont think Rich could beat any of those guys. Liddell would knock his head off, wandy would knee him in the face like Anderson did. Rampage would murder him, take his wallet, howl and mumble something about whoopin ass and God. If the Keith Jardine that fought Chuck showed up then Jardine would win.
C-Bus Allstar- April 30, 2008 at 4:34 pm
See, here's how's things is. There's this bar, this bar represents Rich Franklin. This bar is 5 feet off the ground. Now, everyone in the MW class is around 2-3 feet high. And Anderson Silva's bar is about 12 feet high.

Now, put Rich Franklin's bar in the LHW division and his bar doesn't lower, but his competition's bar goes from 2-3 ft tall, to 5-6 feet tall. I don't think Ace could take Rampage, but I do think he could take Wandy, and I do think he could take Jardine... The Jardine fight would be a fucking BRUTAL one, probably only lasting the first round.. The Rampage fight might last a little longer, but ultimately, I think Rampage would catch him slippin' just like he caught Liddell slippin'.
The Truth- April 30, 2008 at 4:26 pm
"Who wouldn’t want to see Ace take on the loser of Rampage/Forrest?"

Yeah, Ace vs. Rampage would be quite a fight.
BIG CHRIS- April 30, 2008 at 3:05 pm
Rich franklin could easily beat anybody at LH....but even if he went there and got the belt, Silva would follow him there and strip him of that one too....until he can beat the Spider he will never be a legitimate champion....
RealDrew- April 30, 2008 at 2:45 pm
I think this would be a good move for Rich. This might make him relevent again. No disrespect to Rich, I like the guy, but A. Silva has invalidated his presence in the middleweight division. Rich could hang with some of the best LHW. I don't think we'll see Rich as a champ again, but he's a fan favorite and we all want to see him win some fights against some descent competition again.
MMA Enthusiast- April 30, 2008 at 2:40 pm
If Rich were to actually beat Hendo then I don't know what would be next for Dan. He is still considered a top 10 fighter and if he manages to climb up the MW ladder again then he deserves 1 last chance to take on Anderson Silva, then again I believe that Anderson Silva has secured his place in the MW division so he should move up to 205 and for deeper competition. If Anderson Silva manages to win the LW title he would be unarguably the greatest MMA champion of all time.
MMA Enthusiast- April 30, 2008 at 2:37 pm
Rich is mos def a smart fighter and it would be smart of him to fight Hendo and score a win before moving up in weight. If he manages to do great in the LW he would still have the 2 losses to Anderson Silva hanging over his head. I believe a great fighter like Rich Franklin just needs to gain more experience and fix the holes in his game before he is ready to fight Anderson again.
Rich S.- April 30, 2008 at 2:31 pm
"I think Jardine would crush Franklin"

that's a joke right??

Franklin could take:
maybe Chuck
maybe Wandy
i mean,
Rich is just a smart fighter..
Douchebaggery- April 30, 2008 at 1:40 pm
I think Jardine would crush Franklin