UFC veteran Rich Franklin returns to action at UFC 133 on August 6th on co-main event duties against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, with both men aiming to banish the memory of their recent losses in the Octagon with a victory.
Looking at the two men’s skill-sets perhaps the most noticeable difference between the two is Lil Nog’s BJJ prowess, but despite that Franklin isn’t ruling out the prospect that he may take this fight to the floor at any given moment.
“I’m not one of those guys who goes into a fight and says I’m going to take him down or I’m going to keep the fight standing up, although I typically tend to fight on my feet…but if an opportunity presents itself to go down then we go down,” Franklin says in his pre-fight promo for UFC.com.
And while he’s respectful of the Brazilian’s skills on the mat, Franklin feels that his own experience in ground battles over the years will serve him well in this fight.
“When I fight in a jiu-jitsu match I’m comfortable on the ground. In the fight against Forrest [Griffin] I had Forrest on me for an entire round throwing punches, throwing big punches on top of me and I was just fine. I’ve been in bad situations in fights. I’ve had my back exposed, I’ve escaped armbars on the ground, and so I’m very confident in my jiu-jitsu skills and I’ll be just fine on the ground. I’m sure of that.”
Having said that, despite having now fought for 12 years and preparing to step into the Octagon for the 19th time in his career Franklin is humble enough to realize that he still has holes in his game that Nogueira could exploit, and so he’s taking the time to shore them up in preparation for this encounter.
“We have all the drills that we need to do to kind of counteract the things that he is the best at, and we’ll also take a look at spaces where I’m possibly deficient or I can end up getting caught and we’ll fix those things along the way.”
One area of the sport that Franklin has always been comfortable in is the striking, and while he doesn’t neccessarily feels he has an advantage against Nogueira, he does believe that their two styles mesh well together.
“Stylistically Nog and I are different kinds of boxers, but I think we match up really well on our feet. We’re kinda at the same level.”
The question then maybe where does Franklin think he can excel in this fight? While it’s not something he addresses directly, he does assure everyone that he believes he has what it takes to defeat ‘Minotoro’.
“If I didn’t think I could defeat Nog I wouldn’t have taken the fight, and likewise for him, and it’s going to be an exciting fight,” he says.
Watch the full interview below.