by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight champion Rich Franklin has adjusted his focus and preparation for his rematch with current champ, Anderson Silva. He hopes to avenge the loss and regain the belt Saturday night at UFC 77 before his hometown fans in Cincinnati.
He made a few changes leading up to the fight though. Instead of training at home as he normally does, Franklin took his training camp on the road for the final three weeks of preparation into the seclusion of Wyoming.
“For this fight, I took the entire camp out of Cincinnati,” he said. “Since the fight was in Cincinnati, it was very distracting being in my hometown. So we left, came out to the mountains (and) trained some altitude.
“I brought Matt Hume out with me, which is something that’s an addition, as well as the coaches that I’ve been working with. And we’ve made some changes.”
He continued, ” It’s been most refreshing … because I’m not in the middle of the city with all the distractions. There’s a lot of local media and things that were taking up my time. Being out here in Wyoming, it’s a small town, and I tell you what, there’s not anything to do out here but train.”
Franklin new what he was up against as far as the distractions that come into play fighting close to home when he faced Jason MacDonald in nearby Columbus, Ohio earlier this year in March.
“The thing is, the amount of PR work that I had to do for (UFC 68) was a lot compared to stuff that I would do when I was fighting in Vegas. The difference is that when I was in Columbus, I was still an hour and a half away from that city,” explained the former champion. “Here, everything is in my backyard, so even if I don’t pick up the phone and stuff like that, I still have media outlets showing up to workouts, and fans coming in and stopping by, and things like that. All of that stuff becomes a distraction, so it’s just easier to get out of town and shut it all down than it is to be there.
“My concern was that kind of stuff would have a much larger impact because it would be at such a higher volume. It was easier to get out of town and make sure that I stayed focused.”
He also did a little more homework for this fight than he did the first time around with Silva.
“I think in the initial fight, at the time, I believed I put the time in that I should have into studying him. And I didn’t,” he commented on the increased amount of time studying video of his opponent. “We’ve done a lot better job this time breaking down film and everything.”
Despite a change in scenery and the addition of Hume to the mix, Franklin doesn’t plan on a drastic change of direction when fight time comes.
“As far as this fight goes, I’m going to walk out there and start throwing punches like I always do. Of course I have a game plan, but ultimately I’m going to take the path of least resistance. If that means keeping it (standing), fine. If we end up on the ground then that’s fine as well.”
Whether or not the adjustments to his training camp and preparation will pay off, everyone will find out on Saturday night when the Octagon door is closed inside U.S. Bank Arena.