Rich Franklin would be the best fighter in his weight class if only he could convince UFC president Dana White to add a 195-pound division.

The former middleweight champion has, for all intents and purposes, outgrown the middleweight class, but he's too small to compete with elite light heavyweights.

That was proven in his last fight, when he was manhandled by ex-light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin at UFC 126 last year. Griffin's size clearly was the difference.

Franklin will get his wish Saturday when he meets Wanderlei Silva in a rematch of their epic 2009 slugfest in the main event of UFC 147 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in a bout contested at 190 pounds.

Franklin was training for a bout with Cung Le at UFC 148 but agreed to take on Silva again when Vitor Belfort injured a hand and had to pull out of the match at UFC 147.

Because it's not a title fight and because he was losing two weeks of training in a bid to cut to 185 pounds for the Le fight, the UFC accommodated Franklin and made the bout with Silva at 190 pounds.

[Rich Franklin: Comparing the fighting styles of Wanderlei Silva and Cung Le]

Franklin, who lost the middleweight title to Anderson Silva at UFC 64 on Oct. 14, 2006, typically cuts from 205 pounds to make the middleweight limit of 185. The problem when he's fighting middleweights is that he gets dried out in making the weight and that impacts performance.

But fighting at light heavyweight means he's not cutting and is giving up 15, 20 pounds or more come fight time.

The former math teacher said the difference is "indescribable" between fighting at 185 and 190 and gave an apt analogy of the struggles he faces to make the various weights.

"Imagine a sponge that you wash dishes with sitting on your sink, and you take that sponge and you fill it with water to the point that the water is dripping out," Franklin said. "That's what your body is like on a normal basis. Now, when I'm cutting weight, at the middle of that week, it's like taking that sponge and wringing the water out as hard as I possibly could, trying to get every drop of water out. That's what my body is like at 190 pounds.

"Now, take that sponge that had the water wrung out of it and let it sit on the counter overnight. It would be dry and hard, like a brick. And that's what my body is like at 185 pounds. That's the difference. A lot of times, people say, 'I can't believe he only had a pound,' or 'I can't believe he couldn't lose two pounds.' But it's not the first two pounds that are the most difficult to lose. It's the last two, and sometimes the sponge is completely out of water and you can't get any more out no matter how hard you squeeze."

Franklin is willing to squeeze as hard as he can to try to get back to 185 eventually and make one final title run. He's closer to his 38th birthday than to his 37th and he knows he doesn't have a long time.

The end of a career that will ultimately earn him a spot in the UFC Hall of Fame is rapidly approaching.

And like any high-level athlete, he wants to go out, if he can, in a blaze of glory. If he's on the final lap, another win over Silva would be a good way to begin it.

"Like any other kid who grows up dreaming of being a professional athlete, I had the ability to pursue it and God blessed me with a tremendously successful career," he said. "I will always be thankful for that. I wake up and I do what I love on a daily basis. I have this fight next in front of me and it's the one that I'm focused on. The most important thing to me about this fight is winning it.

"All the other stuff, whether or not I make it to the title again, doesn't matter. This is what I have to worry about. That stuff will come in time, if it is meant to be. I'm a very competitive guy and I want to win fights and I want to make another title run. But there is no more important moment, or more important fight, for me than fighting Wanderlei [on Saturday] in Brazil. A win over Wanderlei Silva is a huge thing for any fighter, and that's all that is on my mind right now."

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
Dan Wetzel: Jerry Sandusky's defense bolstered by tape establishing police led accuser's statement
Adrian Wojnarowski: NBA hoping to generate more revenue with World Cup of Basketball proposal
Pat Forde: Michael Phelps will enter seven events at U.S. swim trials
Y! Screen: Baseball player excels despite being deaf

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

UFC says Maryna Moroz injury forced cancellation of fight with Jessica Andrade at UFC 207

  • 25 days ago
  • 4 views

Even though there never was a formal announcement from the UFC of a fight between Jessica Andrade and Maryna Moroz for UFC 207, there has been an official announcement the fight won’t happen. Filed u read news >>

Twitter reacts to Cain Velasquez being pulled from UFC 207, including a replacement offer

  • 22 days ago
  • 270 views

Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez has been forced out of yet another fight. This time it’s his UFC 207 rematch with Fabricio Werdum that’s been scrapped. Just one week before the Dec. 30 read news >>

Fabricio Werdum posts text messages to Dana White offering to fight at UFC 207 for $500,000

  • 18 days ago
  • 152 views

When Cain Velasquez was forced out of his bout with Fabricio Werdum at UFC 207, the pay-per-view main card lost a strong heavyweight fight. Werdum was almost able to stay on the card and face a late- read news >>

Jimmie Rivera withdraws from UFC Fight Night 103 after picking Marlon Vera over John Dodson

  • 7 days ago
  • 51 views

After injury forced Bryan Caraway to withdraw from next week’s UFC Fight Night 103, opponent Jimmie Rivera has now pulled himself from the card, as well.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

UFC Fight Night 103 results: Cyril Asker pounds out Dmitrii Smoliakov midway through first

  • 19 hours ago
  • 5 views

PHOENIX – Cyril Asker only needed a matter of minutes to take Dmitri Smoliakov down, move to full mount, and rain down a steady stream of strikes that forced referee Al Guinee to call a halt to the a read news >>

Mark Hunt criticizes Brock Lesnar suspensions, threatens lawsuits for opponents who dope

  • 10 days ago
  • 27 views

UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt said financial concerns forced him to take a rematch with Alistair Overeem at UFC 209. But Hunt isn’t completely giving up on his Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Bryan Caraway Explains Injury That Forced Him Out of UFC Phoenix Bout | MMAWeekly.com

  • 9 days ago
  • 16 views

Fifth-ranked bantamweight Bryan Caraway details the injury that forced him out of his scheduled bout at next week's UFC Fight Night 103 in Phoenix. read news >>

Two changes to Phoenix fight card

  • 19 days ago
  • 0 views

Injuries have forced a pair of changes to the Jan. 15 UFC Fight Night card in Phoenix, the promotion announced today. read news >>

Cain Velasquez gives his side of the story on UFC 207 withdrawal

  • 18 days ago
  • 29 views

Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez posted a statement on his official Facebook page to explain his side of the story on the cancelation of his rematch with fellow ex-champ Fabricio Werdum read news >>

Will Louis Smolka seek a rematch with Brandon Moreno? Doubtful ... for now

  • 18 days ago
  • 3 views

UFC flyweight Louis Smolka was extremely candid about the fallout from his loss to Brandon Moreno two months ago at UFC Fight Night 96.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>