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Rich Franklin Makes Case For 195-Pound Division, But Still Wants Middleweight Gold

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Unofficially, Rich Franklin sees his UFC 147 main event matchup with Wanderlei Silva as his return to the middleweight division, even though the duo will only have to step on the scale and hit 190 pounds in order to make their fight official. The catch weight stipulation was a concession to Franklin taking the bout on short notice and having to travel from Singapore to the US to Brazil in the interim.

Just days from the fight, Franklin believes he could have made 185 pounds, and when he does the next time, it will be his first time at the weight since April 2008. After moving to light-heavyweight, Franklin has gone 3-3, though two of those fights are notably at 195-pound catch weights.

That 195-pound number is for Franklin a sweet spot on the scale, and one that he said would have been "perfect" for him if it existed as a true weight class, something he thinks makes sense now as the the UFC has added new divisions.

While Franklin said it wasn't something he wouldn't necessarily push for, he acknowledged there's a case for adding 195 pounds to the new and relatively new weight classes of 125, 135 and 145.

"I really don't have an opinion one way or another," he said. "I know originally, the UFC had the five weight classes and they were trying to avoid having so many champions that people would lose track of them, much like what happened with boxing. There are so many weight class champions that you can't name half of the belt-holders in the sport of boxing, and I think the UFC was somewhat trying to avoid that. With time, we've put in these smaller weight classes, so there are so many more weight classes that definitely, an argument could be made for a 195-pound weight class."

Franklin noted that he's been considered a big middleweight and a small light-heavyweight at his various times in each division.

"Having that 195-pound class in the middle would have worked for me," he said.

A win over Silva is not likely to put him into title contention as a middleweight, but that division is likely to be his home until the end of his career.

That's partly because of Franklin's hope of making one final dash towards a belt before he calls it quits. While he was competitive as a light-heavyweight -- notably knocking out Chuck Liddell and taking Dan Henderson to a close split-decision -- he realizes that any dream of holding gold a final time was stamped out in that division by virtue of his losses.

So now, he's back to the place where he was the last man before Anderson Silva to reign over the weight class, hoping for one more run at the top.

"Definitely, that’s the thought process when dropping back to 185 pounds," he said. "At 205, I was just not a big enough fighter. And I knew that my record there was kind of mixed anyway, so I knew that trying to make a title run would be a difficult thing to do with that kind of size disadvantage. So moving back down to [185] at least gave me the opportunity to try to put a title run together perhaps before I retire, and that's the plan."

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