Exclusive Interviews

Monday, 05/07/2012, 10:40 am

Exclusive | Rich Franklin talks Le, Anderson, Sonnen, and more

Rich Franklin is an MMA legend there is no doubt about that. He has fought in the UFC for most of his MMA career, and his a former UFC Middleweight Champion. After losing to Anderson Silva twice he made the jump up to the light heavyweight division, but Rich recently made the decision to return to the division he was once the king of. Waiting to welcome him back to 185 – Cung Le.

“Cung is a different kind of fighter”, Franklin said. “He’s real unorthodox and throws different kinds of kicks from different angles. It will be a whole different look compared to a traditional kickboxer or boxer. A lot of times when you’re fighting guys like that they throw those types of things they’re not supposed to throw at the times they’re not supposed to throw them. For this camp it’s really important to have a training partner who mimics his style really well”.

Franklin versus Le is on arguably one of the most stacked pay-per-views in UFC history. Headlining the event is the rematch between Anderson Silva and his arch-rival Chael Sonnen. Preparation for this fight is no different for Franklin than any other.

“I’ve been on big cards before”, stated Rich. “I don’t have any problems when it comes to that kind of stuff. I think I’m a game day kind of guy so I like that and I invite it. Especially with an opponent like Cung. He’s an exciting fighter, and I’m an exciting fighter. Honestly, I think this is going to be a truly exciting fight. I really believe that”.

With Rich dropping back down to his comfortable 185 pound home it seems only fair to say that at any given moment he is two or three fights away from a title shot. Rich seems to agree.

“I think so. I think you’re probably right. I would have to put two or three wins together before they would consider giving me a title shot. I got Cung in the meantime and this is a really good way to step back in to the 185 pound division. It’s a good return fight for me because he’s coming off a bit of a layoff himself. On top of that he was the Strikeforce Middleweight Champion and he’s someone who brings some credentials to the table. A win here would place me well
back in to the 185 pound mix of things”.

With the headliner on the card of his UFC 148 fight with Le being the consensus number one and two middleweights in the world the what if scenario of Franklin vs. Sonnen comes in to view. Should Chael defeat Anderson that is a very good possibility, and one that appears to be an interesting fight for Rich.

“Honestly I would have to sit down and evaluate Chael as a fighter on tape, which I haven’t done”, Franklin said. “I will say that a fight with Chael would be an exciting fight either way. To really give an assessment I would really have to break down Chael as a competitor. Off the cuff, he is a great wrestler and I would have to defend his takedowns. What he did to Anderson in the last fight walking through punches and securing the takedowns worked. You have to guess Chael will also come up with a new gameplan himself for me”.

In line for a shot at Silva’s belt is Michael Bisping. The Count embarrassed fan favorite Jason Miller before losing a close decision to previously mentioned Chael Sonnen. It is all but confirmed that Bisping is very close to facing the winner of Sonnen vs. Silva. Rich is aware of this, and a Bisping fight also intrigues him.

“I would definitely welcome a fight with Michael Bisping. He is a great all around fighter”, said Rich. “In the 185 pound class you can start looking at the talent like Bisping across the board, and there is a ton of interesting match-ups for me there. Even the fight with Cung came out of left field. This was not a fight I was expecting to be offered to me after the shoulder surgery. I was kind of taken aback, but
really when I looked at the fight I thought this was a really interesting fight and I like the way that we match up. When I look at the 185 pound class there is such a talent pool that if you look at the top 5-10 guys you can’t go wrong and I would always get an
exciting fight”.

According to Franklin the question of a third fight with Anderson Silva comes up a lot. His response to the question of “What has changed since you lost the first two to Silva” itself has not changed.

“Look at the first fight with Anderson and I, and then look at the second fight. Obviously the first fight the deciding factor was the clinch. Everyone talks about Anderson’s clinch game to this day, but that was something we were able to basically nullify in the second fight. Unfortunately at the end of the first round of that second fight I happened to get clipped. Prior to getting dropped at the end of that round I was really pleased at how that round was unfolding. We’d have to go back to the table and look at the fight prep for what we did there. Anderson’s style has changed quite a bit since he and I fought
anyway. When he and I fought he was very straight up with his Thai style boxing, and now he’s unorthodox and moves a lot more. He’s in and out a lot more and utilizes his footwork that he’s always had. He may pose some different problems that we would have to address and I think he would have issues with some of what I bring to the table now”.

Like many UFC career fighters Rich is approaching the 40 year old mark. Granted it’s still a couple of years away, but it is coming. Franklin has thought about what might mark the end of his career, and when that might happen.

“I’ve done a good job of planning for the future and I have done a good job for myself financially given the money that I’ve made”, Rich stated. “At the same time I am also the type of guy that lives for the day and right now my body feels good, and I’m motivated for this fight with Cung. I’m ready to go and as long as I continue to feel this way I’ll continue to fight. As long as I perform at the top level I’m still getting in there. I’ve sat down with my coaches and told them that if there ever came a day when they see me and feel like I’ve kind of lost a step then tell me. If it comes from my coaches I will know. I don’t want to be in that dream where I think that I am good enough and continue”.

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25 Responses to “Exclusive | Rich Franklin talks Le, Anderson, Sonnen, and more”

  1. Coco says:

    Rich is one of My favorite fighters and he’s à very kind dude! Nice to have him back

  2. Ninja Oreo Dollop says:

    I like Franklin and Le but Cung Le is going to lose. He’s constantly putting himself in these situations where he has a long layoff/ring rust from doing movies. In his last fight he looked out of shape and gassed against Wanderlei. I hope Cung focuses on the remainder of his fight career because he too is 40 year old fighter. At this point I think he is just doing it for the huge paydays and the bragging rights that come from fighting in the UFC.

    • Brend0magic says:

      100% agree with that. I’d like to see Franklin vs Bisping or possibly Franklin vs the winner of Munoz/Weidman when that fights over with.

      • Get rid of Fitch (forever) says:

        Yep you guys are right Franklin vs Bisping is a great matchup for Rich. I just don’t see Bisping being able to outstricke Franklin who has much much more power and is well rounded. IMO Franklin is a very bad matchup for Bisping and i doubt the UFC will take that chance with their Brit poster boy. No UFC will continue to give Bisping the mayhem millers, dan millers, Jorge Riveras . LIke i said before UFC learned their lesson with big strikers and will not take that chance with Bisping. Tired of hearing Bisping say he fought all the top guys at MW when in FACT he hasn’t. Sonnen is a wrestler but we will never see Bisping fight the likes of Vitor, Munoz, Belcher, Lombard, Stann, or even Franklin. How people on this site have Bisping ranked above any of these TRUE top contenders I will never understand. I think Jacere, Luke rockhold, strikeforce would beat Bisping. also Slemenko and Falcao would both KO Bisping.

        • Keyboard hater says:

          Ur a fuken mong how is stann anywhere near the top?

        • Get rid of Fitch (forever) says:

          Oh I see your logic Bisping gets wins over mayhem miller, dan miller, jorge Rivera who arn’t even ranked in top 20 so i mention that i don’t think Bisping could beat Brian Stann and your response is Stann is a nobody and doesn’t deserve to fight bisping. Stann would KO Bisping inside 2 rounds. Yes we all know Bisping would run away like he did in Matt Hamill fight but it didn’t do any good cause Hamill chased him down and beat the hell out of him. I just looked up 6 different MMa ranking sites and about half of them actually have Brian Stann ranked higher than Bisping.

        • Get rid of Fitch (forever) says:

          You might want to look up a bunch of MMA ranking sites because justa s many have Stann ranked higher than Bisping. You really think Bisping would be able to handle Stanns power? I would take that bet any day of the week. UFC will never put Bisping in with a striker again. Who has Bisping ever beat in the top 10? not Vitor, Munoz, Weidman, Belcher, Okami, Bisping knows he can talk all shit he wants about Lombard cause UFC would never put Bisping in with Lombard. Lets Lombard has way better striking, 10 times more power, 100 times better jits, 1000 times better Judo. How would Bisping possibly think he would stand a chance against Lombard?

        • Get rid of Fitch (forever) says:

          who has Bisping beat in top 10 MW divsion? hello I’m waiting?????? Stann is ranked just as high or higher by most of MMA rankings. Now ay UFC would ever put Bisping in with Stann. not in this lifetime

        • cntybollax says:

          get rid of fitch,
          hes only ever been knocked out by one.
          all the rest hes gone to decision with and they are big hitters.
          basically you are nullifying your own arguments. he has not won but hes gone the distance with nearly all of his fights against the big ones.

        • Brend0magic says:

          Haha Get Rid of Fitch, never thought of Bisping like that (the brit poster boy, and how the ufc won’t risk him getting smashed) and it does seem to be true. I too think Franklin would beat Bisping no problem, as would Jacare. Hell Tim Kennedy would have a good chance of beating him. I don’t get why people think he’s a top of the food chain middleweight either, and how people are saying Bisping beat Sonnen is beyond me. And Keyboard hater, I don’t think Stann is TOP of the food chain, but he’s getting close. He’s beat some legit guys, and has only lost to a few legit guys too. Phil Davis, Chael Sonnen, etc

        • Get rid of Fitch (forever) says:

          Brendo haven’t you noticed since the Hendo fight the UFC has kept Bisping away from all bi strikers? Dana thought Hendo was washed up and he learned his lesson and they won’t make that mistake again with big strikers. Bisping is in what i call “UFC protective custody” funny evertine i say this 100 Brits get on here and say “what about Sonnen” When is the last time CHEAT Sonnen (even roided up) knocked anyone out? NEVER!!!! Bisping is UFC Brit poster boy and all his hype is based on fighting sub-par below 25th ranked fighters. Every top fighter Bisping has ever fought he lost, Rashad, Hamill, Hendo, Wandy. How is it Bisping is even ranked in top 10 without a win over a top 10 fighter?

        • Brend0magic says:

          Haha I honestly never noticed that before, but its all 100% on the money. I guess I stopped really paying attention to Bisping after he lost to Rashad. Now I’m looking at his fight history, and all his wins are over mid-level guys AT BEST. How can he say he’s been knocking out the best when he’s never had a straight knockout in the UFC? Couple tko’s to okay opponents don’t count imo. He got outstruck almost 2:1 AND taken down by Sonnen and some how is still saying he beat him. Bisping is a fool.

        • Ko_King says:

          It’s clear that u r a ball bag and know fuck all about what ur saying!

  3. Gouldx87 says:

    Rich will take this fight, i hope the cut goes well he would be an interesting match up for alot of guys in the 185 division ..Franklin vs Belcher would be good

    • Jay says:

      Franklin vs belcher makes a lot of since but imo that would be a step back for belcher. They are saying Lombard gets next title shot if he beats stann and if that happens belcher should get winner of bisping and Boetsch for the next title shot.

      • Igor says:

        I think Boetsch need to win like 3 more fights

        • Jay says:

          Gotta think tho if he beats bisping that’d be wins over grove, Nick ring, Okami, bisping, and belcher since dropping to mw pretty.sure that would qualify for a title shot lol

        • Jay says:

          That’s if he fought belcher and won

      • James Troy says:

        >>former champ franklin
        >>step back for belcher

        rich comes down from 205 and wins against le ranked or not hes automatically in top 5 of the division. his only losses at 185 are to anderson silva. he was #2 there before the move. a win over franklin is a much bigger feather in belchers cap than lombard, stann, bisping or boestch.
        hes a legend, former champ at 185 and a great 205er franklin is at the top, the rest of those guys are still climbing. belcher needs top guys now. a win over franklin (if franklin beats le) would be a title contender.

        if franklin loses then it would be a step back for belcher cause franklin would fall out of top 5 (possibly ranking alltogether)

        • Jay says:

          Just meant belcher is closer to title shot than Franklin is right now. Franklin is not a top 5 mw right now. 1silva 2 phael 3 vitor 4 Bisping 5 Munoz 6 Boetsch

        • Brend0magic says:

          How is Bisping number 4?? He hasn’t beat anyone good!! Got outstruck 2:1 and taken down in the Chael fight and still tries to say he won. I’d honestly like to know how anyone could have him ranked that high. He’s never beaten a top ten middleweight, so I don’t even see how he’s top ten himself.

  4. joshuah says:

    I love rich, my favorite all time & ill never doubt him, he’s a very tough Guy, and he’s only been beat by the best.

    I have thought he lost something lately, he doesnt have that legendary cardio anymore, but I’m hoping thats cuz of the weight deference that weighed him down,

    I’m hoping for another title run I’m glad this interview pointed out he knows there r guys in front of him be4 all these ridiculous fans that forget fighters as soon as they lose one fight get in here & try to trash the Guy.

  5. Pancho says:

    Rich is always gonna be my favorite fighter. I always wonder what woulda happened if Silva wouldnt of came. What if Rich had stayed so dominant?

  6. ya herd says:

    fair enough get rid of fitch but the very top guys who beat him only 1 of them was really a loss the others were close fights. put it like this hes a good fighter enough said.. go look at mark munoz fighting history, he has a win over chris leben witch bisping destroyed over 3 years ago, then he has a win over kendall grove were is he now lol hes got a win over a over rated damian mai witch nearly beat him, and he got knocked out by mat hamil lmao, i never here u bring up shit on other fighters just bisping. and bisping would pick stann apart all stan is, is a big brawler hes not much realy

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