Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin was at the top of his game back in 2006; ‘Ace’ had a stellar 22-1 (1) record and had finished all but one of his victims. Franklin had defended his title twice after winning it from Evan Tanner at UFC 53, and stepped in the cage as a heavy favourite against Anderson Silva at UFC 64.
As it turned out, ‘The Spider’ snatched the belt from Franklin in devastating fashion and the rest is history. To this day, ‘Ace’ has only been to the judge’s scorecards four times in victory and has either submitted or knocked out 25 opponents. Last seen getting knocked out by Cung Le in 2012, Franklin is almost surely in the twilight stages of his entertaining career.
‘Ace’ stopped by to talk with ‘Submission Radio’ recently and he had some rather surprising statements to make:
“Would I fight Silva a third time? Absolutely, yes. Is it because I feel like we have some unfinished business? No, not at all; it’s just that, in my mind, as a champion and to have the mentality of a champion, I have to wholeheartedly believe I can beat Anderson. Not just Anderson, if somebody says ‘Hey Rich do you think you can beat Jon Jones?’ Absolutely, yes.”
The 39-year old veteran clearly still has the right mentality to fight at the top level, but have his abilities slowed too much? That being said, you could argue that Silva’s best years may also be behind him, especially since he will be in rehab for his broken leg for all of 2014. Perhaps a trilogy making match between the two could be realistic?
“Yeah I would take the fight with Anderson. It wouldn’t be for any reason like redemption of vengeance or retribution or any other cool word that we’ve seen on a UFC poster before, but yeah I would fight him and I believe I could beat him and that’s just me with the champion’s mentality.”
Franklin still has one fight to honor on his contract, and would almost seem right that the former champion would meet the man that took his title so many years ago. I remember Silva paying tribute to Franklin when he TKO’d ‘Ace’ at UFC 64, similar to how Weidman respected Silva after knocking him out at UFC 162. How would you feel about seeing Silva vs. Franklin 3?