“The UFC has basically told me that they’re not interested in having me fight at 185 anymore,” Franklin said in an interview with MMAWeekly.com. “Which is the only reason I made the move to 205 in the first place.”
Fast forward to March 2012 after Franklin had shoulder surgery that kept him out of fighting for the remainder of 2011, and it was announced that he would face former Strikeforce champion Cung Le at UFC 148.
The biggest surprise about that fight of course is that it’s taking place at middleweight.
So what changed over these last several months that brought Frankling back down to 185 pounds?
“After this injury, I was talking to Monte Cox and I said what would the UFC think about me moving back down to 185? I think at this point in time, in their minds, if I was able to put a title run together, even if they did do another rematch between Anderson (Silva) and I, there’s been enough time at this point there would be interest in the fight, and I guess that’s what the interest is now,” Franklin told MMAWeekly Radio on Thursday.
Truth be told, Franklin was never a huge fan of fighting at light heavyweight to begin with, so when the door opened back up for him to return to 185 pounds, he jumped at the chance.
There are no certainties in MMA of course, so the door to return to 205 pounds isn’t closed by any means, but Franklin is hopeful that his final days of fighting will all be carried out in the UFC’s middleweight division.
“I try to avoid absolutes, but yeah if I’m going to move down to 185, making a jump to 205 is a difficult thing to do and making a jump back down to 185 is a difficult thing to do, but constantly moving back and forth between the two, and I was doing catchweights at 195, that makes things more difficult,” said Franklin.
“You don’t really have a home. Your body is constantly having to adjust to different weights, so this should help stabilize things for me. Hopefully, this is where I’ll finish my career.”
Of course, just coming back from major shoulder surgery and having his first fight scheduled against Cung Le in July, Franklin knows he’s still a ways off from competing for the UFC middleweight title again, but that’s still his ultimate goal.
The passion to once again claim the 185-pound title that he held and defended two times is something that Franklin still holds near and dear.
“That would be my Cinderella story. It would be great. I had one chance at that and fighting in my hometown and all that kind of stuff to regain my title, swing and a miss, strike one. I moved up to 205 and never really quite put things together at 205, swing and a miss, strike two. So hopefully this would be the way to end it,” Franklin stated.
“We’re starting with a good exciting fight, we’ll move forward from there. But that would be my Cinderella story.”
Check out the full interview with Rich Franklin from MMAWeekly Radio below: