by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight titleholder Rich “Ace” Franklin will look to get back to his winning ways this Saturday night when he takes on Travis Lutter. Both fighters are looking to find their way back to the top of the 185-pound weight class.
Franklin has been a mainstay in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio for many years, working with coaches like Jorge Gurgel and Neal Rowe, but for the fight with Lutter, the former champion has moved his camp to the Northwest and started training with Matt Hume.
In a recent interview with MMAWeekly Radio, Franklin divulged that after working with Hume for a short time prior to his second fight with Anderson Silva, he decided to split his camp between Cincinnati and working in Seattle with Hume. He believes the change will do nothing but positives for his overall game.
“Sometimes it takes an outside party to kind of subjectively look at how you’re training and you reevaluate things. You can look at mistakes you’re making or the complacency that you’ve developed in your training and it just gives you a fresh look at things,” said Franklin.
Working with Hume’s camp has given him a “one stop shop” for all of his MMA needs instead of working with multiple schools as he’s done for most of his career.
“The one thing that Matt does really, really well is he puts together a good game plan and he’s well rounded. It’s the first time that I’ve had a coach that basically takes care of all aspects of my fight game,” Franklin commented. “When I’m up here I have Matt Hume and Matt Hume basically runs the entire gambit. So it makes it a lot easier for me to get everything accomplished and everything’s on the same page.”
Facing adversity is something every fighter faces at some point in their career and after two losses to Anderson Silva, the Cincinnati native admits he’s learned a lot.
“Within the last year, year and a half of my life, I’ve fought Anderson (Silva) twice, and I’ve probably learned more about myself in this last year than I have in the previous 14 or 15 years of my life,” stated Franklin.
“When that happens you start re-evaluating strategies, career, all that kind of stuff, so I’ve basically taken a look at things that way. I’ll just say given the fact that I lost to Anderson the first time and was able to rebound back and just focus on the next fight, that’s the same thing I’ll do with this fight.”
Rebounding hasn’t been a problem for Franklin after tough losses. Following a trip to Japan and a loss to Lyoto Machida, he reeled off eight wins in a row, won the UFC middleweight title and defended it successfully twice. After the first loss to Silva, he returned to defeat Jason MacDonald and Yushin Okami to work his way back to a shot at the title.
Facing Travis Lutter will be a new challenge for the former high school teacher, and his opponent has not kept his game plan a secret, openly stating that he plans on taking Franklin to the ground and either pounding out a win or catching him in a submission.
“He basically knows what I’m going to do as well,” said Franklin about their respective game plans. “Travis is a smart guy, so he is smart enough to say ‘I’m going to shoot in and take him down’ and then possibly fake the shot and start throwing some punches. I can’t just completely discard his stand-up. There is enough danger there that I have to worry about that.
“The fact of the matter is that I’m not a tricky fighter either. The way that I fight, I try to impose my will on my opponent. If I can oppose my will on my opponent, it does not matter what he’s going to do, because I’ll take him out of his game plan. Somebody like Lutter, it’s the same thing with him, if he can effectively take me to the ground and take me out of my game plan, then it kind of makes things much more difficult for me to win my fight.”
Franklin’s fight is usually a brutal display of punching power that has put many opponents out and staring up at the lights to end their night. The former champion is looking for much of the same when he faces Lutter.
“Nothing tricky about what’s going to happen with me,” said Franklin. “The door’s going to shut, I’m going to walk out to the center of the ring, obviously Travis will walk out to the center of the ring as well, and I’m going to throw a few punches and, Lord willing, some of them will land.”