Rich Franklin (25-5-0), the Former UFC Middleweight
Champion is naturally eager to get back into the octagon at UFC 115 on June
12th. Franklin has presented a golden boy image for mixed martial arts since he
first got in the UFC back in 2003 when he beat Evan Tanner by TKO. Franklin has professionalized every
aspect of the Pro MMA fighter's career path. Early on he had a loss to Lyoto
Machida in late 2003, he went on to a winning streak that lasted for 8 fights.
Along the way he picked up a championship belt, visited troops overseas,
made some appearances in movies, TV, wrote a book and branded a very successful
clothing line - American Fighter.
Since 2006, when he lost to Anderson Silva, a highly
anticipated match- up for long time MMA fans of PRIDE, he suffered serious
injuries and recognized some weaknesses in his game. When I interviewed him after his loss to Silva he was honest
and told me that he was not prepared for how good Silva's clinch game was and learned
that he needed to train his maneuverability from a vice-like clinch. Franklin is an honorable fighter and
has faced two other major losses since Silva. Another desirable match up for Franklin was UFC 93 in 2009,
where he faced Dan Henderson, another PRIDE great where he lost in a split
decision and then later that year against Vitor Belfort in UFC 103, losing in
the first round due to a TKO.
Although these losses were significant, I really do not
have much criticism of Franklin's choices as an MMA fighter. See beyond the mistakes he
has made perhaps in his training and even inside the octagon, because I admire his
overall professional approach to the sport, his constant goodwill as a
spokesman of MMA and his non-dramatic presence when he is the
center of MMA media attention. Fighters lose, simply put and I look at a fighter's evolution, persona and character.
On June 12th, Franklin will take on Chuck
Liddell, another MMA icon. Liddell
has suffered his own set backs recently.
His lost to Shogun via knockout cast tremendous doubt on his future
inside the cage and Dana White spoke publically that Liddell was not going to be
fighting again, therefore pushing Liddell into retirement. Well Dana, you are not Liddell's daddy. A man with his own mind has decided to continue beyond 40 and take on an MMA colleague. Franklin verse Liddell is a fight worth watching and I am hoping for no crazy, unexpected first round knock out. I was to see how these two style look against eacother.
Franklin has shared some of his training. I will be featuring a couple ball exercises used by Rich Franklin that be incorporated into anyone's workout.