by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
“(Rich Franklin) is gonna fight (Mike) Swick at 170.”
That was UFC president Dana White’s response at the post-fight press conference to questions of what was next for Rich Franklin after the former middleweight champion’s unanimous decision victory over Wanderlei Silva at UFC 99 in Germany this past weekend.
That comment was quite obviously made in jest, referring back to Swick’s earlier comments that he wanted bigger fights after four-straight victories in the welterweight class.
In all seriousness, the UFC president intends for Franklin to move right back up from the 195-pound catchweight fight with Silva and remain in the light heavyweight division.
“We want Rich to stay at 205 pounds. He’s gonna stay in the 205-pound division and take a run at the title,” said White, addressing a class that has seen its title change hands four times in the past two years.
“This opportunity popped up for him and Wanderlei to fight. It was at a great weight; he felt great at that weight. It was Wanderlei’s first time making that weight. To him it was a big fight, close to the weight he wants to be at.”
The two made the most of the fight, exciting German fans with a Fight of the Night performance, but Franklin’s win left Silva begging for more.
“Please, I want a rematch Dana (White). You’re the boss, but I want a rematch,” he pleaded at the press conference. “I want to fight Rich Franklin again. Judges sometimes have an opinion, but I’m thinking I want to fight Rich Franklin again. I want a rematch.”
That doesn’t appear to be in the cards anytime soon, however.
“I think (Rich’s) next fight is gonna be with one of the top guys at 205,” stated White.
That’s fine by Franklin, who, before the Silva fight, foretold his future, “(Wanderlei’s) a 205-pound fighter, so winning this fight would definitely put me in the mix of things at 205 pounds. How close to the title it puts me, I’m not really sure, and I really don’t care at this point and time. My main objective is to win the next fight that’s in front of me, and if at some point in time that turns into a title run, then great.”
According to White, that’s exactly where the win over Silva puts him. And Franklin’s never been one to argue. He pretty much toes the company line.
“I’ve always been one of those fighters that fights for the organization,” he stated. “If they want me to fight a fight at 205, I’ll fight at 205. If they want me to go back down and fight at 185, I’ll fight at 185… whatever Dana asks me to do.”
And Dana wants him to make that run.