by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
“The Athlete” Jason MacDonald will indeed face former middleweight Rich “Ace” Franklin at UFC 68 in Ohio, according to cbc.ca. This fight has been rumored since MacDonald disposed of Chris Leben last Saturday night at UFC 66.

MacDonald was recently on MMAWeekly Radio and mentioned that he wasn’t necessarily looking for a fight with Franklin. “A Rich Franklin fight is not a great fight for me, he’s coming off a loss and I’m coming off two wins, but it is Rich Franklin and he is one the top middleweights in the world,” said the young Canadian.

MacDonald said that he wanted to fight Kendall Grove next. “That’s the fight I’m looking for is Kendall Grove,” he said. That fight will have to be put on hold for now. A win over Franklin would instantly put MacDonald in line for a title shot.

Rich Franklin is coming off a devastating loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 64. Franklin is in need of a win in order to get back to his number one contender status. A win over MacDonald would be a major confidence booster for the Ohio native. Franklin had two successful title defenses as middleweight champion, and the road back to the title begins with Jason MacDonald. Franklin is a consummate professional and knows how to bounce back after a loss. After his loss to Ryoto Machida back in 2003, Franklin rattled off eight straight wins.

This is a significant step up in competition for MacDonald. Franklin knows that this fight is very important and is a pivotal point in his career. After MacDonald disposed of Chris Leben and Ed Herman, Franklin has to know not to take MacDonald lightly. Franklin should have a few advantages such as size and experience. But one thing is for sure, after last Saturday night, every fighter in the middleweight division including Rich Franklin knows that MacDonald is for real and not to be taken lightly. This fight will really set the bar for the number one contender in the middleweight division.

According to Sherdog.com, who spoke to MacDonald’s manager Mark Pavelich, the UFC’s Joe Silva has been so impressed with MacDonald that he included a signing bonus and a new four-fight contract as part of the offer to fight Rich Franklin.