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What’s next for Rich Franklin?

rich-franklinAfter Rich Franklin‘s TKO loss to Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort, during Saturday night’s UFC 103, I’m asking myself what’s next for “Ace”?

The loss to Belfort was Franklin’s second consecutive fight at a catch weight match-up; his first was a unanimous decision win against Wanderlei Silva back at UFC 99 in June. But with the loss on Saturday, what do you do with him now?

Dana White expressed in the post fight press conference that he and the UFC will remain loyal to Franklin and figure out what’s next for the former champion. Franklin has undoubtedly been the UFC’s workhorse, not only by headlining cards for the pay per view ratings when no other star names were there, but by never taking seemingly easy fights. His last three fights alone have been all been against former champions, and although his record stands at 1-2 against them, I believe he actually won the fight against Dan Henderson.

However, at this stage in his career, does Franklin still have what it takes to be a champion? At middleweight there seems to be no interest in another run at current champion Anderson Silva, Franklin himself admits he doesn’t want to face the Spider again. So unless for some reason Silva decides to let his future opponents hit him on purpose, I don’t see any of the top contenders taking his belt away anytime soon.

At light heavyweight, a division Franklin is very familiar with, he will have even more trouble finding his way to the top of the ladder. With the most stacked division in MMA, the UFC boasts more talent in the light heavyweight division than other promotions have in their entire stable of fighters. Franklin could most certainly put on great fights with some of these guys, Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin come to mind, but I’m not sure he could make it to the top of the heap. He currently has a loss to current champion Lyoto Machida, and then there’s that Silva guy again, who seems to have set his targets on the light heavyweight belt as well.

I have always enjoyed watching Rich Franklin fight, he gives everything he has and leaves it all in the octagon. He has become a true poster boy for what Mixed Martial Arts has become and has not disappointed in that role. He is a class act in victory and has always been gracious in defeat. He is a fighter that has become a role model for the sport and a future hall of famer; I just hope it’s not the beginning of the end.

By no means does one loss become a precursor for the end, but I just hope the UFC has a plan for him. I hope he doesn’t become a stepping stone for future stars or the guy in between divisions, fighting for no reason.

  • jmack91 says:

    They need to throw him in the LHW mix and see what he can do there.I think griffin/franklin fight would be a great fit with both coming off KO losses.Or he could act as gatekeeper again and face off against newly acquired rodney “shonuff” wallace to see if he is for real.Just hope they dont let him go to waste.Still has a lot of good fights left in him.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    There is always going to be good fights for a guy like Rich. Why not have Cro Cop drop to 205 and fight Rich. That would be a interesting fight.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    I say you set up Rich up with Jardine at 205. i have no intrest in see Cro Cop anytime soon. He needs a big name but not to big since all he has been doing is taking on past Champions the last 3 fights. Give him glass chin Jardine and after he takes that one then you put him up with someone like Tito (when he beats Colman) or how bout Chuck when he is done doing the fox trot or how bout the rematch of the one he REALLY won aginst Hendo. He is not done. He is getting cliped by top tier guys here. He still is one of the best at game planning (except for the spider) and shouldnt be counted for dead yet

  • Jstew3785 says:

    Rich Franklin vs Bones Jones

  • Batman says:

    Give hime Hendo and settle the score once and for all. Cro cop needs to go down to 205 he isn’t big enough to be heavyweight just like couture.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    i wouldnt to that to a up and comer that you can market up really well. Franklin will beat Jones due to the fact the Bones is known for gasing out. I love Jones and he will be the next thing in LHW but fighting some one like Jones is a step back for Franklin. He is 35 and only wants big fights. Jones is not that name yet. Give Jones some cardio and then put him up vs Bader. That will give a good look at where they both are.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Moose, Jones vs Bader would be a great match up.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    Yes Bat’s give Franklin Hendo. Fraklin won the 1st fight and will win the 2nd aginst stuck in one way of fighting and wont change old balls Hendo

  • moosebaby02 says:

    and I like them both. it was so hard typing that one up cause it almost felt real to me and I have a feeling that the UFC will put it together. It sucks cause one of them will have to loose.

  • dpk says:

    There are so many good fights at 205 for him. Jardine, Tito, Coleman, Vladi, Lil Nog and Forrest would be the established guys he could fight. Cane, Jones, Bader, Stann, and Cantwell are all up and comers that would be interesting.

    I think they should give him at least one more fight against an established guy before he moves goes to a gatekeeper, Jardine and Tito come to mind first.

  • Rich S. says:

    I’m not giving up on Franklin yet..

    All legends fade away at some point. We’ve seen Wandy do it, we’ve seen Cro Cop do it, we’ve seen Liddell do it.. But, I don’t think it’s Franklin’s time..

    I honestly believe he just got caught by a good, flush shot from a heavy-handed knockout artist.. That’s reasonable isn’t it?

    I mean, it makes since to say Chuck’s chin has faded, he lost 3 of his last 5 by knockout..

    But like I mentioned earlier, Rich is coming off two long, 3 round bouts with both the heavy-handed Hendo and the heavy-handed Wandy..

    Guys, it’s OK to take a knockout loss, that doesn’t mean the end of your career.. But if this becomes a recurring issue, we could see Rich’s demise..

    So far, the three people that have knocked Rich out are primarily KNOWN for their knockouts.. So, this doesn’t seem so strange to me..

    As for his next opponent, give him Jardine.. That’s a fight he would most certainly win, but it’s not too easy of an opponent..

  • moosebaby02 says:

    excatly Rich. there is so much the UFC can do with him after Jardine.

  • CMT says:

    He can stund double for Jim Carrey. Just kidding. I would like to see him fight Jardine.

  • fraz says:

    Tito…or Jardine.

  • Angry Mike says:

    Love to see him fight Tito, but I might hang myself in the garage if Tito won.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I was a little surprised by the ko of Franklin. It looked to me like he went down on a glancing blow, and the intial shots he took on the ground (with the exception of one hammer fist that looked like it hit on the back of his head) didn’t land flush, either. Wonder if the damage is starting to take a toll.

  • Brandon says:

    Rich needs to fight B level fighters (Shamrock, Loiseau, Quarry) in order for him to look like he has any possibility of being a top tier fighter. It’s unfortunate but the truth is Rich is the one who was always over rated, he’s a class act guy with a nice physique and personality so he looks like a true all around fighter.

    I say let him continue to being a gate keeper, give him fights against up and comers on fight night cards and everyone will go happy. Whatever they do… please no more A level competition, it pains me to see the guy get smashed whenever he fights a quality striker.

  • Makington says:

    Loiseau and Quarry are both quality strikers, but ok. Anderson Silva is more than a quality striker as well, and Vitor just has tremendous power.

    Rich is still a great fighter and the UFC can still do a lot with him and for him. I think he can atleast hang with the top of the heap at LHW. Unfortunately I don’t think he’ll have a belt again but he will give anyone he’s fighting trouble.

  • xtreme_machine says:

    common guys Rich is no were near being done

    he has only lost to Anderson, Machida, Belfort, and Hendo( we all know rich won this one) and this guys are legends on the sport and are at the top of the food chain. that is it

    Also, they give guys Fight of the Night and KO of the Night awards to encourage them to stand up and bang for the entertainment of the fans

    but when the other fighter gets KO they immediately start questioning whether or not he still has what it takes

    they get KO because they want and need that money and because they want to entertain the fans

    So UFC, Joe, Dana why not cut the guys a brake and do not be so quick to judge


  • Brandon says:

    I had Henderson easily winning that fight against Rich.

    Loiseau and Quarry quality strikers? Ummm did you not see how sloppy both of those guys last 5 fights have been? When I mean quality strikers, I mean guys who have good technical skills, not guys who throw windmills that are predictable and miss most of the time.

    I say give Franklin a young guy like Cane or even Vera, if he can’t beat one of those guys then he needs to end up on the under cards or fight nights fighting against mediocre talent like Krystoff Sozychinski (sp?) or Brian Stann….

  • edub says:

    A few things:
    A fight against someone like Cantwell, Soszyinski, Stann, Jardine, or Forrest make the most since to me right now with an emphasis on the Forrest fight. I say give him someone that is not gonna be as dangerous as a Cane, Vera, or a Bones Jones just yet.

    On Louisau and Quarry I think you at least have to consider them quality strikers since 1. Nate KOs most of his opponents and he has a helluva chin. and 2. Everyone who fights Louseau immediately takes the fight to the ground. David Louseau was on an absolute terror before the Franklin fight and he hasnt been the same fighter since.

    I would say Rich vs Dan was a very close dec for dan. I just would have liked to see how the final minute wouldve gone without the eyepoke. Hendo was gettin his butt handed to him for about a minute straight before that.

  • Clay The Caveman Guida says:

    I just can’t stand all of the nubes on here thinking that Rich beat Hendo. He was outclassed. He fought hard, but did not do enough to win, and don’t even start with the eye-poke excuse. It’s not like he has knockout power and could have ended the fight.

    Get over it. It wasn’t even really that close, which is why nobody – other than Franklin- was interested in seeing the rematch. Come on people. Get educated.

  • edub says:

    Um yea apparently were a little more educated than you because guess what the fight was damn close. And just because you dont have KO power it doesnt mean you cant drop someone. Rich beat Dan up in that fight and without the eyepoke many people including myself feel the fight wouldve been a different decision. Dan was hurt and getting rocked with head shots and kicks to the body.

    Jeez man get educated. Noob.

    BTW this was directed at the wet blanket.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    Clay The Caveman Guida knows all. We should all bow down to him since his word is the only thing that matters.
    There are many people who saw it the other way even some people who work on this site. Hell even Dana said he thought Franklin won but it could have gone either way. I guess Dana is a nubes as well Mr. second coming of Christ
    As for the rematch it wasnt that no one was interested it was the timing with the Tuff show for Hendo and his match with Bisping that got in the way of that. Trust me there are alot of people who want to see that rematch and the end of the day we the fans how have the right to state are own opinion are the ones filling their pockets with $$$ to see the fights we want

  • Clay The Caveman Guida says:

    edub: “we’re” not “were.” Who needs the education? Rich beat Dan up… that is just plain funny.

    I am just sick of it. Every fight that goes to decision could possibly go either way since the judges make the decision. It will forever be a loss on Franklins record, much like Bisping on Hamell’s record.

    I have not stated that I am all knowing or great, just that Hendo won and there was nothing Franklin could have done in the last 40 seconds of the fight to change that. He is a great fighter, but will never be a knockout artist.

  • edub says:

    Ah got nothing to come back with so you attack grammar on a blogging website. BTW Bisping never fought anyone named Hamell. He did however beat Matt “Hamill”.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    when you come on here calling people nubes and telling them they have to get educated your pretty much telling everyone that you do know everything Clay especially since you post is just filled with what you believe and no facts to base them on. Just cause people think something that’s not what you agree with dosent mean its wrong. Sure the score cards say he lost and it Franklins fault for not finishing the job like he supposes to but shit happens. These forms are put out here for people to give their opinions not to be shot down by someone who “thinks he knows everything by coming back at some ones grammar. Thats like calling a fat kid fat when you have nothing better to come back with. I suggest you take some of you own advice

  • mu_shin says:

    I’ve written previously about the honorable role of the journeyman fighter, specifically about Heath Herring, but I think Rich Franklin may also fulfill that role in the future. He’s still tough, still talented, but seems unlikely to challenge for either MW or LHW titles. That does not mean he can’t put on entertaining fights that MMA fans would feel good about paying to see. Many of the potential matches mentioned above would be crowd pleasers and competitive contests, so as long as Franklin trains hard and brings his best game to the octagon, I’d expect the UFC to continue to give him the opportunity against quality opponents.

    A lot was written about the “glancing blow” that Couture took from Brock, and I was a little surprised at seeing Franklin fold as he did against Belfort, but having had the experience of being clipped by “glancing” punches and kicks and seeing stars, as well as staring up into the lights a couple of times, I would never second guess a fighter like Rich Frankllin. If he went down, it’s because his lights were going out, and Belfort deserves credit for that kind of punching power. I’m sure we all would have liked to have seen that fight develop a bit more, and see more and better action from those two warriors, but MMA can’t be scripted, and it played the way it played on fight day,..

  • moosebaby02 says:

    well put shin. Franklin is not done yet. His last 3 fights were against title holders either in the UFC or Pride. Also he has been stopped once in those fights. The man lost 4 fights his whole life all of a sudden people says he has a suspect chin??? 3 of the 4 was a ko and two tko’s. Vitor former title holder and Anderson current title holder. There are worse records out there with more ko or tko’s out there. He is know were close to being a gatekeeper yet but if he continues to slide then in the future yes. Still way to much you can get out of him still

  • fanoftna33 says:

    I think people started to think he had a suspect chin way back when he fought Quarry and one of the main points leading up to the fight was Quarry stating how he had heavy hands and Rich had a weak chin. Like people have stated he has only been koed by 3 fighters, all three are great champions(I know Vitor was only champ for about a week but he was LHW champ). If Rich starts dropping like Liddell then I would think talk of a weak chin was warented.

  • Rich S. says:

    I can understand why people don’t think Franklin will ever be champion again.. But, honestly, who do you think WILL beat Anderson or Machida? I can’t think of anyone who can beat them skill-wise.. Maybe a freak knockout, but that’s it..

    He’s still a great fighter, he’s just unlucky in that he fights at 185-205, weight classes who’s champions are two of the best fighters on the planet..

    And he’s definitely got what it takes to GET a title shot.. I mean, if you can beat Hendo (we’ll say he beat him, for the sake of arguement) and Wandy, you can hang with most of the LHW division..

    I just don’t think he wants a title shot.. He’s stated that he doesn’t want to fight Anderson again, and he doesn’t think he needs a rematch with Lyoto, because he lost definitively..

    I’m with you, moose. I think it’s pretty sad that he still only has 4 REAL losses in 30 fights and people are already giving up on him.. I’m not going to mention the Machida and Anderson losses, because I have so many times and I don’t think they need explaining.. But, in regards to Vitor, normally people think of him as an on and off fighter.. knocking someone out, then losing a decision, and on and on and on.. Well, now, he seems to be on a role.. Maybe he’ll be the next Anderson Silva now that he’s training at XC.. We won’t know until his next fight.. But, if he gets another quick knockout, you can’t take anything from Franklin’s chin..

    On another note, if ANYTHING, Rich’s chin is commendable for not actually getting knocked out in the Silva fights..

  • moosebaby02 says:

    more good points Rich. Just keep given him big name fights like he wants. He is an fighter/entertainer who go’s to war for the fans.

  • neijia says:

    > I hope he doesn’t become a stepping stone for future stars or the guy in between divisions, fighting for no reason.

    If you’re not a contender for the belt, being a stepping stone or gatekeeper is the next best thing — but there are still plenty of entertaining matchups for fighters who aren’t going to win the belt and who are no longer in “up and coming” status. Dan Henderson is another guy who is not gonna beat Anderson Silva or Lyoto Machida, but he also has a name, always goes 110% and is fun to watch. If there is some question who won, having Hendo vs. Franklin again could be hyped up a bit.

  • Bullylover says:

    it’s only been 4 days since saturday and people are talking about rich franklin being a gatekeeper.if that’s the case then majority or fighters in their respective weight classes are gatekeepers.I mean sure rich may never be champ again with silva being MW champ and machida being lhw champ but lets not throw the man to the wolves just moose and rich s. have been saying there are still plenty of quality matches for rich in the ufc. If people can be nuthugging brandon vera right now then why the hell are they doubting rich franklin who is a way better coul have rich face forresst,lil nog,tito,t.silva,luis cane,shogun(if he loses to machida)cantwell,stann,etc.

  • manny says:

    I dont see him being champion or top contender at MW or LHW.


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