Rich Franklin is one of the most recognizable faces in the history of mixed martial arts, and remains one of the UFC’s most beloved former champions.

One day he will be seriously considered for inductioninto the UFC Hall-of-Fame, mainly due to his sixteen month reign as middleweight champion over the course of 2005 and 2006, but for now that can wait.

At the age of 35, he has yet to show any visible signs of slowing down as he continues to be one of the top contenders in both the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions.

Although Franklin remains a legitimate force, there is officially light at the end of the tunnel. He has now gone past the nine year mark in his storied professional career.

The ultimate goal is still to get back his titleholder status that was taken away from him by Anderson Silva in UFC 64, before he is forced to someday hang up his gloves for good.

The next step in his trek back to the pinnacle is a matchup with former PRIDE middleweight champion Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva.

The two will tussle in the main event at UFC 99 in Cologne, Germany on June 13.

The fight will take place at a catch-weight of 195 pounds, due to Franklin’s desire to stay at 205 pounds for good, and Wanderlei’s desire to drop to 185 pounds after this fight.

This is a matchup that many fans have been dying to see for some time now, and one that is likely to produce fireworks in the form of a good old fashioned slugfest.

“Ace” took some time out of his busy schedule to talk Lyoto Machida, why he believes he beat Dan Henderson, his preparations for Wanderlei including training with Anderson Silva, and when he anticipates his career coming to a close.

Check it out:

Derek Bolender: I want to start with UFC 98. Lyoto Machida dominated Rashad Evans to take home the light heavyweight belt. Did you get a chance to watch the fight? What did you think of Machida’s performance?

Rich Franklin: I didn’t watch the fight. I rarely watch fights when I am preparing for a fight myself, unless I am watching video of my opponent. I will watch that UFC after my fight.

Derek Bolender: Machida is a guy you fought back in 2003 in Japan. What do you remember about that fight?

Rich Franklin: I remember Machida being very elusive and much better than we had anticipated. At the time I fought him he only had three fights. I knew he would eventually find himself in the kind of situation he is in today.

Derek Bolender: Would you like the opportunity for a rematch against him at some point?

Rich Franklin: I would like to make a run for the 205 pound title. If he is in my path to achieving my goal I would be interested. Otherwise, I need to stay focused on what’s important.

Derek Bolender: In your last fight at UFC 93 you lost a split decision to Dan Henderson. Before the judges scorecards were announced did you think
you had done enough to win that fight?

Rich Franklin: I believe I won that fight. I dominated the stand-up war, and Henderson was unable to mount any damage while he had me down, let alone even keep me down most of the time. The only damage he did to me in that fight was an accidental eye poke and head butt.

Derek Bolender: Did the accidental head butt or the eye poke you sustained from Henderson in any way hinder your ability to be successful in that fight?

Rich Franklin: No, the head butt was more blood and the judges saw that, and the eye poke was the last 30-45 seconds. I should have not been in that situation.

Derek Bolender: So how big of an impact did they actually have?

Rich Franklin: None really.

To continue reading the interview click on the following link click here.



This interview was originally posted on MMAmania.com where Derek Bolender is a contributor.