Now is the time for “Ace” to right a career long, plaguing wrong. Rich “Ace” Franklin has had one of the most successful and illustrious career runs in the UFC over the span of his nine-plus years with the company. Throughout his stint with the most renowned mixed martial arts company in the world, he held the UFC middleweight championship for a full calendar year before succumbing to future hall-of-famer Anderson “The Spider” Silva.
In October 2006, a Muay Thai clinch and knees to the jaw/nose was just about all she wrote for for the Cincinnati native, as Franklin lost his belt to the man who would go on to hold it for the next seven years. The October 2007 title rematch wasn’t much different, despite the main event title bout taking place in “Ace’s” Ohio-based hometown.
From that point it seemed as though Franklin could do just enough to get to the dance yet only to abandon his date at the door. Now, Franklin enjoys a life promoting his new juice business and watching the fights (albeit passively and painfully) in the comfort of his own home.
The disclaimer comes from a recent interview with Fox Sports that “Ace” doesn’t enjoy watching today’s fights because he still feels the competitive juices (no pun intended) pumping through his veins. That’s totally understandable and commendable as a true competitor. Franklin has one fight left on his contract. All he has to do is call UFC President Dana White and say the word.
Well folks, the word couldn’t possibly be far off from: revenge. Yes, that’s right. Revenge or perhaps redemption, would be suited for the most logical choice for his last ever fight inside the Octagon. Revenge in the hands of an injured and ‘depleted’ former champion Silva.
Franklin would be wise to ask for none other than the man who beat him twice before, in a redemption bout. It is perhaps the only true stain in his legacy, as Silva represents a hump that the former math teacher was never able to get over.
The reason being is because of obvious circumstances. It’s no secret that Silva is no ‘bicentennial man.’ For those who don’t know that reference, see Robin Williams in your next search engine inquiry. Last year after goofing around cost Silva the title he originally won from Franklin at the hands of 29-year old Chris Weidman, “The Spider” fell victim to a shin bone crack on a leg check in the year-end rematch. The injury left Silva screaming in agony and writhing in serious pain.
However, after successful surgery and an upcoming rehab stint, doctors said that the former Brazilian champion could be fighting in no time. With Silva possibly targeting a return toward the year’s end, I don’t think there’s a better opportunity to build his confidence back up by the man he already beat twice. On the other side of the coin, if Franklin ever dreamed about defeating Silva, now is definitely the time.
For starters, Silva is six years older than the last time he fought “Ace” and although Franklin is too, he still looked impressive knocking out Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell and taking a decision from Wanderlei Silva, unanimously. Also, we don’t know how well that shin bone will heel.
Thus, it should surely be a target for anyone (including Franklin) on the opposite side of the Octagon. Finally, while Silva aimed at one more crack at the belt pre-injury, he stated that he would like more “fun fights.” Talk about the potential thrills in this one.
How would the third fight from these two not be fun? Although Franklin mounted little to no offense in their first two encounters, I’m giving him the slight nod in this one based on practical analysis.
For all intents and purposes, Silva will most likely never be the same fighter we saw who virtually cleaned out the entire middleweight division again. This brand new leg handicap only derailed his legacy train and prolonged the inevitable discussion of the “hanging up” of Silva’s tights.
We don’t know how much fight Franklin has in him either, but I can assure you that win or lose, this will be by far the most competitive fight that he will bring to Silva if it does take place.