UFC 115: Liddell vs. Franklin
Rich Franklin entering the Octagon
Page 2 - parts 6 - 8
© Marc Wickert
photos copyright 2004 Zuffa LLC
It’s the fastest selling event in UFC history, and with Rich Franklin and Chuck Liddell heading the card, it’s no wonder tickets for UFC 115were snatched up in less than 30 minutes.
Once Vancouver City Council gave the bill their nod in December 2009 sanctioning MMA bouts, UFC quickly got plans underway to hold its first event there in British Columbia. And what better way to get things rolling than to blast the Canadian fans with a stacked card featuring former middleweight champion, Rich Franklin (27-5) and former light-heavyweight champion, Chuck Liddell (21-7)!
Not only has UFC 115: Liddell vs. Franklin broken all box office records, but the event will now be screened live in 337 theaters across America as well as being aired on p-p-v throughout the world. Looks like the planet’s fastest growing sport just went into overdrive.
Knucklepit was fortunate to catch up with Rich Franklin during the lead up to UFC 115 and greatly appreciates “Ace” taking time out from his training to chat about his highly anticipated match.
Rich, how has training been going for your upcoming fight?
“Training is going well. Of course I have the normal bumps and bruises for the fight, but not my signature black eye yet. This is my first fight after a bit of a layoff, and I feel mentally refreshed and excited about training for the first time in a long time.”
Have you stayed with Mike Ferguson, Jorge Gurgel, Neal Rowe and Rob Radford for this one?
“I did not go to Seattle for this fight, and yes, I have been working with those coaches rigorously. Jorge will not be in my corner due to some family business that needs attention, but I will have both Neal and Rob, as well as Matt Hume.”
Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva UFC 99
Dana White wanted Chuck to retire, but Chuck insisted on fighting again. Will he have something to prove against you?
“I believe fighters with a track record like Chuck have nothing to prove.”
It was originally said that you would be fighting Randy Couture. What happened there? Is it still likely to happen?
“The UFC was interested and working towards putting that fight together, but we were having trouble due to scheduling. After Tito's injury, the UFC needed someone to fill in with Chuck. I'm not sure if that fight will happen in the future or not.”
I saw a photo of you playing the drums. Does Ginger Baker have anything to worry about, or is it just a hobby?
“I doubt it! Ginger Baker is thought of as one of the greatest drummers of all time.”
Do you have any idea what sort of shape Chuck is in for this upcoming match?
“I saw Chuck a few weeks ago and he was in the best shape I have ever seen him in.”
Obviously you won’t want to give any specifics, but has your preparation been different for UFC 115?
“Other than spending my time in Cincinnati rather than Seattle for this fight, not much has changed. Of course, I tailored my training to my opponent.”
What were your thoughts on the Machida vs. Shogun bouts?
“They were great fights...not sure I agree with the decision on the first one.”
You defeated Wanderlei Silva at UFC 99. Do you expect Chuck’s style to be similar to Wanderlei’s?
“Not at all. I wouldn't be surprised if Chuck had some ‘trick’ up his sleeve for this fight.”
How do you feel your striking compares with Chuck’s?
“I believe my striking compares favorably to anybody in the sport.”
What motivates you in training when you’ve already achieved an MMA record of 25-5-0?
“Because I am not finished!”
Rich Franklin inside leg-kicking Wanderlei Silva
Have we seen the best of Rich Franklin, or like Randy, do you believe you keep improving? (I know you’re much younger than Randy).
“I have to keep improving. Every other fighter in this sport does.”
You and Chuck don’t seem like the type of guys who will be talking trash about each other, but both of you will be pulling all stops when the action begins. Is that a fair assessment?
“I have never talked trash for any fight, and I've never pulled any punches.”
Both of you have incredible striking skills. Is this a match made in heaven for the fans?
“This is the fastest sellout fight in UFC history. I think the fans know this is a ‘match made in heaven’.”
What do you see Chuck’s strengths being?
“His experience. He has been in that octagon so many times he will be relaxed with a solid game plan.”
What do you see your strengths to be?
“Much the same. This fight will come down to who performs better that night.”
Rich Franklin’s sponsors?
“American Fighter and Tapout.”
Rich, is there anything you would like to add?
“Enjoy the Show!!!”
Rich Franklin catches Wanderlei Silva with a left
For more on Rich Franklin: www.richfranklin.com.
Coming up Aces
photos copyright 2004 Zuffa LLC
April 19, 2008, fight fans witnessed a showdown between two of MMA’s
best middleweights when Rich ‘Ace’ Franklin faced off against Travis
Lutter in the co-main event of UFC 83: Serra vs. St-Pierre 2. And
at just over three minutes into round two, Franklin proved in diabolical
fashion that he is still a very serious contender to regain his UFC
the time of this interview, Rich is at home in Cincinnati, Ohio, where
he says, “ It
feels good to win every once in a while and not require a hospital
Rich was fighting before a Canadian crowd of over 21,000 fans, the
audience clearly showed they were in his corner when he entered the
Octagon, and they treated him as a local hero. Their loyalty was
appreciated by Ace. “The
Canadian fans are very supportive of me. I would return to Canada
to fight anytime,” says Franklin.
to Rich’s bout with Travis, there were no secrets regarding the
strategy of either fighter: Rich would be looking to keep the fight
standing, and Travis would be hell-bent on taking it to the ground. Not
surprisingly, twenty seconds into the fight, Lutter attempted his first
shoot on Franklin.
just under three minutes into the round, Travis had Rich from behind.
Guest commentator Kenny Florian said, “This is probably the worst
possible position to be in: Lutter trying to take your back.” Seconds
later, Travis got the mount, then he seized Rich’s right arm and
wrapped on an arm bar. For a split second it appeared this would be
curtains for Franklin. But Rich spun out of the hold.
What an escape by Franklin. That is a high-level counter right there. He
(Rich) was in big trouble… Lutter transitions beautifully into arm
bar, his (Rich’s) arm was locked out. Franklin really impressed me
with that counter,” said Florian.
was your spin out from the arm bar something you’d practiced with
is something we have practiced in the past, but we did not practice that
in particular for this fight.”
that the turning point in the fight?
think the first lead hook I landed was the turning point of the
was it like winning in front of the 21,000 fans?
energy in a crowd the first time you fight in a new place is
indescribable. It doesn't matter whether you are in front of 2100
you dedicate the win to your dad?
really...I have never understood dedicating an event or performance I
should say to someone else. His absence did affect me, and you can
read about that in the ‘Franklin Equation’ on my webpage.”
did Matt Hume say to you before the fight?
Rob, Neal and Jorge told me to just go out there and have fun...all the
preparation was finished.”
you happy with the way you fought the fight?
“I am my own worst critic. There were things I liked about the fight and things I did not. I can't say I was pleased with my performance, but I wasn't necessarily disappointed either.”
During the media conference, you said you didn’t like competing in front of your home crowd. Is that because of the pressure it puts on you?
I said fighting in my home town is a two-edged sword. There is
extra pressure to perform and extra media work. However, you always
have the fan support and do not have to travel far.”
came out to ‘For Those About To Rock
(We Salute You)’ again for this fight. Are you an AC/DC fan?
Have you seen them Live?
“I have never seen them live, but I am a fan of their music. Oddly enough, Dana initially chose that song for me to walk out to, and it just stuck with me.”
the opening seconds, Travis Lutter’s corner was calling for him to get
his hands up. Were you surprised that Travis still maintained a low
really because he was looking to close the distance and take me down.”
of the opening round was fought in Travis’s backyard. Did you feel
confident the whole time, or were there moments when you thought things
weren’t going the way you wanted them to?
things had completely gone my way, I wouldn't have been on the ground in
the first place. With that in mind, I was very calm and confident
while I was on the ground.”
you think a certain amount of Travis’s gassing was due to frustration
rather than lack of cardio?
believe some of his ‘gassing’ may have been due to frustration. I
also landed a few knees at the beginning of the fight that may have
taken something out of him.”
you feel you’ve lodged a strong case for a rematch with Anderson?
really. I am not sure the fans would want to see that yet anyway. I
will just take this process one fight at a time.”
Matt Hume confident you can take Anderson?
believes I could beat Anderson. However, he is a great champ and I
would have many things to change.”
Last time we spoke, you said you wanted to let fans know the rumors were incorrect about your retiring. That’s obviously no longer an issue.
can just let the fans know I am not leaving yet.”
is there anything you'd like to add?
“Let the fans know they can go to RichFranklin.com or AmericanFighter.com to sign up for my ‘Franklin Equation.’ It is a weekly or semi-weekly writing about random thoughts. We have been getting great positive feedback from our recipients.”
“American Fighter, Global Payments, and Campbell Hausfeld.”
more on Rich Franklin: www.richfranklin.com.
vs. Lutter: http://www.knucklepit.com/mixed-martial-arts-ufc83.htm
more on UFC: www.ufc.tv.
Still Some Aces up His Sleeve
photos copyright 2004 Zuffa LLC
Sunday morning and Rich is casually sitting back at home in Cincinnati
having had knee surgery in Las Vegas two days ago. “I always take
Sundays off...even when I have a healthy knee,” says Franklin.
to the operation, Rich celebrated a traditional Christmas at home. His
wife Beth’s family was in town and her parents stayed with them. For
New Year’s Eve, Rich’s uncle had a party at his house and the whole
family welcomed in 2008 in a low-key manner.
down-to-earth lifestyle is in contrast to that of the elite full-contact
athlete who transforms into a superhero when he enters the Octagon
before millions of p-p-v fans, and who has helped attract some of the
biggest crowds to UFC events in the last few years.
Following his latest bout against Anderson Silva, Rich ducked down to the Bahamas with buddies Jorge Gurgel and Chad (see photos atwww.richfranklin.com) to chill out for a few days. But then Franklin cranked up the hectic pace, and traveled to Canada for the filming of Weapon. “After I finished the movie, I had to go to LA to film a DVD for the UFC. I am not sure when they are releasing the video.”
has long been good friends with Matt Hughes, but says he was not
involved in Matt’s preparation for UFC 79. “I was in Canada filming
for the movie, but would have done anything I could to help if he would
have asked me.” And due to Franklin’s spending Christmas and the New
Year with family in Cincinnati, he was unable to attend the Vegas UFC,
so he watched it from home.
on that card was Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva.
what did you think of Chuck vs. Wanderlei?
“What an excellent fight!”
are you mainly training with now?
still have my camp in Ohio...Jorge Gurgel (BJJ black belt, New
Generation Martial Arts), Rob Radford (boxing instructor, Boxing 4
Fitness), and Neal Rowe (Muay Thai instructor, Sacan Martial Arts) are
my coaches. Mike Ferguson still does my strength and conditioning. For
the Silva fight, I began working with Matt Hume and that is something I
would like to continue during my career. I have learned a lot from him
in just a few short weeks, and wish we had more time to work together
before the Silva fight.”
you still train with Joe Doerksen?
last time I trained with Joe was for the McDonald fight. I asked him to
come to Wyoming to help me train for the Silva fight, but scheduling was
a problem. He is a great friend, and I would use him to train in the
future, schedules permitting.”
there anything you felt let you down in your fight against Anderson
you lose, you are let down!”
you work with weights as much as you used to?
“Yes and no: I lift twice a week. My routine has drifted away from traditional weight lifting to flipping tires, pushing wheelbarrows and much more functional exercises. We still do circuits that I feel are better suited for fighting.”
you believe you can beat Anderson?
do believe I can beat him; I just need to make some adjustments. He is a
great champion and a very intelligent fighter.”
do you think Dan Henderson will go against Anderson?
believe stylistically Henderson is troublesome for Anderson, but both of
these fighters are smart men.”
do we see you compete again?
sure yet: I have to see how my knee heals.”
am working with American Fighter, Tapout, a tool company from the same
home town as I am in called Campbell Hausfeld, and Capitol Payments
is there anything you'd like to add?
“I run into tons of fans who have heard rumors that I am retiring...That is not my plan at this point.”
For more on UFC: www.ufc.tv.