It’s hard to imagine that it’s been nearly five years since Rich Franklin was running the UFC’s middleweight division. Enter one Anderson Silva stage left and the former high school math teacher’s career has never been the same.
“The fact was that I was mentally cashed, and when you start coming into the gym and the moment you walk in, you’re looking at the clock and counting down the minutes ’till the time that you leave, that’s never a good thing,” Franklin said during a recent conference call.
Since losing his middleweight crown to Silva at UFC 64 back in October 2006, Franklin has bounced between the UFC’s 185 and 205-pound divisions. Given MMA’s current landscape, the 35-year-old would prefer a permanent return to the light heavyweight class. However, Richie’s last two outings came in a pair of 195-pound catchweight bouts – a fictitious division Franklin dearly wished existed.
“That’s my plan (to stay at 205), but honestly, I didn’t plan on coming into the position I’m in now, coaching the show and fighting Chuck [Liddell],” said Franklin. “Pretty much, I’m just the type of person that does what the UFC needs. My plan is to just stay (at 205).
“If there was a 195-pound weight division that would be great for me, but there’s not. I’ve always had problems making weight at 185. It takes a lot of effort for me to do it. At 205, I realized that I’m a taller fighter in that weight class.”
Franklin holds an impressive 25-5 professional mark, however was last seen getting knocked out by Vitor Belfort in at UFC 103 last September. Although he desperately needed the hiatus to recharge his battery, the former champ believes Saturday is the perfect time for a return.
“This was about the time frame I wanted to jump back in anyway,” said Franklin. “I took time off and had the ability to physically reset and mentally reset, so the timing was perfect.”
Franklin makes his light heavyweight return against Liddell this Saturday at UFC 115 inside General Motors Place in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.