by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
This Saturday evening possibly the next chapter in the history of the UFC Middleweight Championship can be written when Anderson Silva challenges Rich Franklin for the belt.
Throughout the title’s five year history only four men have held the title, including the first ever 185lb UFC Champion, Dave “The Warrior” Menne.
Recently MMAWeekly caught up with Menne to discuss his future with the UFC, his blossoming promotional career with the Extreme Challenge and to get his thoughts on this weekend’s clash for the belt he pioneered.
“I’ve been working at the studio [Northway Martial Sports & Fitness], training, trying to put on some shows, working with a crew of fighters, and getting Roger [Huerta] ready for his UFC fight,” said Dave of his activities since fans last saw him at Ultimate Fight Night 5 in June. “I worked a little bit with Sean [Sherk] and Nick Thompson…but basically I’ve running around with my head cut off as usual.”
Menne has over the past couple years remained extremely busy running his school, promoting and fighting, leading his feeling of lassitude. Dave however digresses and continues to push himself toward his inevitable return, possibly before the end of this year.
“Hopefully by December,” commented Menne of his next UFC fight. “I have no injuries right now but I wouldn’t go so far to curse myself to say they won’t happen, won’t pop up, but hopefully November or December.”
Before Dave can progress with the remainder of his three-fight contract, he will once again put on the promoter’s cap for his successful co-promotion of the Extreme Challenge series in Medina, Minnesota with Team Extreme manager Monte Cox.
“On October 21st we have a show going on at the Medina Ballroom,” disclosed Menne. “We’ve got Tom Speer, Joey Clark and a crew of local up and coming fighters, so we expect it to be a good card.”
Dave continued, “There’s some up and comers, guys trying to break in that are good wrestlers, strong, competitive guys. One of my guys fighting on the show has knocked out his last three guys; another one has submitted his last three guys so we’re expecting a lot of exciting fights. We always have the best fights in Minnesota and we expect the same this time.”
Then there is this weekend’s clash for the UFC 185lb Championship, a title that Menne was the first to hold back in 2001.
When it comes to the match-up between Silva and Franklin, Dave was more than obliging to give his insights into possibly the title’s biggest and most important altercation.
“We’ve seen Rich in his fights dictate the pace,” observed Menne. “He keeps the distance and systematically takes apart a lot of the people that he has been fighting. He’s gotten clipped a few times and obviously been stunned but he’s been able to recover and win his fights.”
“Anderson’s a precise striker, a bit unorthodox and he’s obviously going to throw and come after Rich. A lot of the fights I’ve seen of Anderson you see a lot of repetitive hits that are causing the finishes and KO’s. Whether that is going to be the case with Rich having as long as a reach as Anderson does we’ll see,” added Dave.
As for who he feels has the best chance of winning the match-up, Menne believes it will come down to who can dictate the action the most.
“Is Anderson going to be able to keep his game up for five rounds? Is he going to be able to handle the bigger man with equally long reach and how is his game going to increase or decrease as the rounds go on if he’s not able to finish Rich right away? If Rich is able to dictate the space between them and the pace he’ll probably win,” stated Dave.
Regardless of what happens this weekend, MMA history will always show Menne as the first man to hold the title and it’s a distinction Dave takes in stride with a bit if humor mixed in.
“It’s always good to know that you’ve accomplished something,” exclaimed Menne. “It’s a check off the list, but as always you’d rather still be holding onto the belt [laughs].”
Dave concluded the conversation by saying, “I’m feeling good, feeling healthy, and putting together my training schedule of strength and cardio…working on coming back and hitting it hard. With a renewed enthusiasm, confidence and strength expect to see me soon. And anybody that has a chance come out to the Medina Ballroom on October 21st and see some of the best up and coming fighters Minnesota has in action.”