by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight titleholder Rich “Ace” Franklin is considering a return to the light heavyweight division according to his manager, Monte Cox.
“Rich has to make a decision,” Cox told MMAWeekly Radio. “We’ve certainly considered going to 205 and seeing how he does up there.”
Franklin obtained the middleweight championship at UFC 53 by defeating Evan Tanner. He lost the belt to current champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva at UFC 64 and was defeated again by Silva in a rematch at UFC 77.
“He’s fought almost everybody in the 185-pound division,” said Cox. “There are some guys that he could fight, but if he beats them it knocks them out of title contention. And nobody is looking to see Rich and Anderson Silva 3 right now, including me.”
Franklin competed as a light heavyweight for the first half of his career losing only once, to the still undefeated Lyoto Machida, but hasn’t fought at 205 pounds since 2004.
“It’s one of those deals where he’s such a big star, which helps. He’s loved everywhere he goes, a big ovation in Canada and all that. But he’s not helping the 185-pound division right now by beating everybody up in it,” commented Cox.
“We’ve talked about going to 205 and how would he match up with some of those guys, with a Forrest Griffin or a Keith Jardine. I think there’re some really good fights. There’s a whole bunch of 205’s that I think would be interesting.”
He continued, “In the end, we do what the UFC wants. If they want us to try 205, we’re up for it. If they want to keep us at 185, then we’ll do that too.”
Franklin is coming off a win in the middleweight division over Travis Lutter at UFC 83 and isn’t expected back in action for another three to four months.