Morning Report: Rich Franklin 'wholeheartedly believes' he could beat Anderson Silva in a third fight

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin isn't looking to quietly walk away from MMA. Absent from the cage since his 2012 knockout loss to Cung Le, fans have wondered if they'd seen the last of the teacher turned fighter. Speaking with Submission Radio, Franklin says not only does he have unfinished business in the sport, but that he'd love to face fellow former champion Anderson Silva a third time.

"Would I fight Anderson a third time? Absolutely," says Franklin. "Is it because I feel like I have some unfinished business? Not at all. It's just, in my mind as a champion and to have the mentality of a champion I 100% wholeheartedly believe that I can beat Anderson in a fight."

Silva first captured his title in a stunning first-round, TKO victory over Franklin at UFC 64 in October 2006. It would be the start to the longest running title reign in UFC history.

"It wouldn't be for any reason like redemption of vengeance or retribution or any other kinda cool word that we've seen on a UFC poster before, but yeah I would fight him and I believe I could beat him."

As for Silva's on-going recovery from a broken leg, Franklin can certainly sympathize. 'Ace' hasn't won back-to-back fights since scoring a pair of TKO wins against Matt Hamill and Travis Lutter in 2008, much of which could likely be attributed to a struggle to stay healthy.

"Now, I have a plate in my hand much like Anderson has a rod in his leg and I know how difficult that is," says Franklin. "Fortunately, I'm hitting things direct, straight impact where Anderson is moving his leg like a ball bat, so I really don't understand how he's gonna be able to kick with that leg in the future, because it's his left, it's his rear leg, it's his kicking leg. So I don't know how he's going to be able to move forward that way with that leg."

Pumping the brakes on UFC president Dana White's claims he'd be ready for a return by year's end, Silva is now targeting 2015.

"We'll see what Anderson does on the backend of his career but I'd look for him to return and I'd look for him to hunt for the title again at some point in time," says Franklin. "We'll just see if he can get there."

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

'That was a crime.' Chael Sonnen talks his TUF: Brazil brawl with Wanderlei Silva and an assistant coach. "That's what it was. That was straight up illegal."

No regrets. Robbie Lawler isn't dwelling on his loss to Johny Hendricks. "I don't need to go back and watch it every day. I need to concentrate on doing better and moving forward."

Controversy. After he collapsed off his stool and was allowed to continue fighting, RFA's Junior Maranhao doesn't understand what the fuss is all about. "I know that the image is shocking, but we've seen worse things in the UFC, guys that go out and get back. I think that the doctors made the right call."

Shad on Reem. Rashad Evans says Alistair Overeem needs to sort out his issues if he wants to flourish with Team Jackson. "The funny thing was, he would run his own camps and bring his own people in, then go out there and lose and blame everybody but himself."

Rowdy. Bjorn Rebney thinks Ronda Rousey has a ways to go before we can call her MMA's biggest star. "I would never want to verbalize disrespect for a fighter ... but to characterize her as the biggest star in MMA is, I believe, a little disrespectful to a lot of fighters who have put in year after year after year in this game."

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MEDIA STEW

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UFC 172: Extended Preview.

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Nick Diaz wants Roy Jones Jr. to buyout his contract.

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Marina Shafir wins her pro debut.

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Highlights from RFA 14.

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Tyrone Spong breaks his leg at GLORY 15.

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Jon Jones swimming handcuffed...

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Long watches.

UFC on FOX 11: Road to the Octagon

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TWEETS

As always, make sure to check out our Pro's React piece from UFC Fight Night: Abu Dhabi.

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Victory lap.

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Better luck next time.

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Should we be worried about Wandy?

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Sad to see it end.

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Calling out a guy who just got KO'd?

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Get well soon.

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Power couple.

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Tito lays it out.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced this weekend (Apr. 11-13 2014)

Tito Ortiz vs. Alexander Shlemenko at Bellator 120: Alvarez vs. Chandler III

Ronda Rousey vs. Alexis Davis at UFC 175

Ray Borg vs. Luke Zachrich at UFC on FOX 11

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via Eriksson Lau.

It's been too long (WMMA Recap: Blocked Websites in China Edition)

After about 8 months of WMMA previews (monthly, biweekly, weekly etc) and recaps of them, I will miss my own deadline of 'WMMA Preview April Week 1-2'. And this was on a very active week of fights too! Holly Holm, Ronda's BFF of sorts, Seo Hee Ham and a 10-0 19 year old Brazilian prospect. Hopefully, this will be a first and only that!

I think something is better than nothing, so here's what I have... (it's been a while MMAFighting/BloodyElbow fanpost section)

135lbs: Holly Holm def. Juliana Werner via 5th round TKO

Just another highlight, another passenger on the Holly Holm hype train

Holm did this with a fractured left arm.
The brief moments of any grappling, Holm looked uncomfortable and unsure of herself. She's must-watch, but I'm confident she would get wrecked by Ronda and Cyborg. I'd even pick Zingano to beat Holm, if it's the Zingano that goes for takedowns.
Her technique is absolutely superb, but does she really have to grunt after every strike? I even heard her grunt after moving away from a strike.

...

Check out the rest of the post here.

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Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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