UFC News: Rich Franklin To Fight At UFC 88 At Light Heavyweight

It appears that Rich Franklin will next fight on the UFC 88 card in Atlanta, which headlines Chuck Liddell vs. Rashad Evans. 

A source closed to the Sept. 6 event tells MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Franklin has been targeted for the event, and the search for an opponent “is in full swing.” Franklin will likely be slotted for UFC 88’s co-main event. Franklin, who lost his title and a subsequent rematch to current middleweight champ Anderson Silva, most recently scored a second-round TKO of Travis Lutter at UFC 83. 

This brings about several question…

1. Will the move to Light Heavyweight be permanent? (If at all)

I doubt it would be permanent.  He needs to stay away from Anderson Silva.  If Rich, Anderson and Dan Henderson move up to light heavyweight it would take out the top three middleweights in the UFC.  I believe we could see the three of them fight in both divisons.  However, Franklin has cleaned out much of the divison except Henderson and Silva. 

After the victory, Franklin told MMAjunkie.com that a third fight with Silva probably wouldn’t be marketable. Many have suggested that a move to the light-heavyweight class could open some new possibilities, though Franklin has been quick to dismiss the suggestion. However, according to our source, he and the organization are now considering a move to 205 pounds, though it wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent move and could simply depend on whether or not he thinks the match-up makes sense. Although he’s one of the sport’s bigger middleweights and sheds considerable weight to make the 185-pound limit, Franklin recently told MMAjunkie.com that his body is better suited for the middleweight division. Although he’s one of the sport’s bigger middleweights and sheds considerable weight to make the 185-pound limit, Franklin recently told MMAjunkie.com that his body is better suited for the middleweight division. “I’ve been at 185 (pounds) for several years,” Franklin said in April. “I think that over the past couple years, I’ve really changed my body composition. It used to kill me to make weight, but now it’s much easier than it was three years ago, and I think it’s because my body’s changed a lot. I just don’t think I’m big enough to compete effectively as a light heavyweight anymore.” Franklin last competed at 205 pounds at The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale in April 2005. He called it a “special case” since the first-ever Spike TV broadcast would reach millions of viewers and could catapult his popularity. After defeating Shamrock, the victory did just that. Franklin said if a similar opportunity presented itself, he may be inclined to take it.

2. Who Would Rich Franklin fight at UFC 88, at Light Heavyweight?

  • Dan Henderson is already rumored to be on the card against Rousimar Palhares in a middleweight fight.  This is the fight I would want to see, but no need for it to be at light heavyweight
  • Forrest Griffin would seem a likely choice if he loses to Jackson Saturday, seeing as how Forrest is a Georgia native.  I would almost expect Forrest to make it onto this card if he comes out unhurt from the Jackson fight, and my bet would be on a Franklin vs. Griffin fight (if Forrest loses to Quinton)
  • A newcomer that I would never consider?? Maybe.  I would expect the fight to be a draw somehow. 
  • A guy like Sokoudjou, Reljic, or Lambert — ehhh don’t count on it.
  • Matt Hamill is on this card supposidly, that could happen, but it seems like too much contrast in styles and that may be a bad match up for Rich as Matt is big and strong even at Light Heavyweight. 
  • A star like Wanderlei Silva.  It could happen.  That would be a huge fight.  Size wise it would be great for both.  A win would get Wanderlei a title shot.  Though I still like the idea of a Thiago vs. Wanderlei or even Wanderlei vs. Jackson III
  • A guy like Keith Jardine — that is a good choice too.  We will see.

The UFC is stacking their Light Heavyweight divison.  Recently they have added Brandon Vera and Anderson Silva.  Though both those guys will alternate between their former and enw divisons it seems.  Dan Henderson doesn’t appear done at Light Heavyweight as Vera was offered to fight him at LHW.  Rich Franklin jumping up would add some serious force to the divison. 



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