Rich Franklin claimed another victory over Wanderlei Silva last night in the main event of UFC 147 in Brazil and then admitted that given the circumstances surrounding it this had been a very important fight for him in his career.
“I’ll tell you what, there was a lot riding on this fight for me,” Franklin told Fuel TV backstage after the show. “I was coming off a shoulder surgery, a long lay-off. I had my August fight cancelled and I’m coming down to Wanderlei’s backyard, plus I accepted a fight that was two weeks ahead of the time-frame, a completely different opponent – all that kind of stuff, and for me there was a lot riding on this fight.”
Franklin had to dig deep in this second encounter after ‘The Axe-Murderer’ had him badly rocked late in the second round, and post-fight the former middleweight champion admits he doesn’t remember much about it or the rounds that followed after it.
“I’ll just say this, because I have no clue…I know I got dropped. I remember my cornerman saying, “it’s the fifth round” and I was like ‘cool, I got plenty of gas left in the tank,’ but I know I got dropped somewhere and it’s not uncommon for me. It happened in my title fight – it’s happened in many fights, so it’s just something I’m used to working through.”
There was then a moment of comic relief in the interview as Franklin admitted he’d focused in training on remaining calm as after over a year’s layoff he was worried that he was going to “shoot my wad.”, before quickly adding with a chuckle,”…uh, I probably shouldn’t have used that phrase!”
Due to the short notice he had for this fight Franklin requested it to be fought at 190lbs as he was worried that he might not be able to make weight otherwise, but on reflection he feels that he would have been able to do so if he had too, and he is now plotting a return to the middleweight division.
“Oh, whatever they give me,” he says in typical Franklin fashion when asked if he has anyone in mind to fight next.
However he does then go into greater detail about how he sees his plans for the immediate future.
“Here’s the deal. I’ve fought at 185 before and the idea was that the UFC didn’t want to do a third fight between Anderson [Silva] and I, and that was understandable because I lost both of those fights pretty convincingly. But, enough time has passed now that…I’m not going to make a title run at 205, I’m just not big enough, so I talked to the UFC about dropping back down to 185 and if I could put some wins together then maybe we’ll shoot for a title before I retire. I’m 37 and I’m getting up there in years.”