Franklin: "… Wanderlei Has Lost a Step"

Written by Tom Ngo
June 13th, 2009


Did the always-respectful Rich Franklin really utter those words about his UFC 99 opponent? Well, kinda sorta. Read what the former UFC middleweight king had to say about facing Wanderlei Silva this Saturday in Cologne, Germany.

“That thought process is out there, that maybe Wanderlei has lost a step,” stated Franklin. “He’s also had a nice, impressive victory as well.”

The one that Franklin is referring to would be his impressive knockout of Keith Jardine at UFC 84 last May. Although that is the only W the former Pride FC champ has posted in his previous five scraps, Franklin is prepared to face Wandy circa 2002.

That was the Brazilian’s most dominating period of work as he went an astonishing 17-1-1 against some of the world’s best fighters in Japan.

“The punching power is still there, the destruction is still there, and anything is possible with an explosive fighter,” Franklin said of Silva’s lethal hands. “I’m definitely not walking into this fight thinking I’m fighting a beat-down version of him. As far as I’m concerned, he’s just as dangerous now as he was when he was in Pride.”

Franklin, the former math teacher, has extensively studied Silva for quite some time and he is ready to apply what he has learned.

“We’ve all seen Wanderlei fight many times,” Franklin said of Silva’s tendancies. “You know what he’s going to do. He’s going to time some things and then he’s going to come in with his combinations, at which point if he lands, great. If he doesn’t land, he’s going to look to tie-up in the clinch and start throwing some knees.

“Those are his big tools, and you’ve seen them time and time again. If you try something new and it doesn’t work out, you’re eventually going to go back to your bread and butter anyway, and that’s what he does best, so that’s what we need to definitely make sure we’re prepared for.”

Sounds like he knows exactly what to do in their 195-pound catchweight fight. All that’s left is the simple task of applying it.

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