Rich Franklin Returning To Middleweight, Will Face Cung Le At UFC 148
Rich Franklin is on the move once again. The former UFC Middleweight champion will return to his old weight class this summer to face Cung Le at UFC 148. The bout will not only mark Franklin’s return to the 185 lbs. division, but also be his first fight in well over year. Franklin last competed in February of 2011, at UFC 126, in a losing effort to Forrest Griffin. Cung Le will also be coming off a loss, facing defeat in his UFC debut against Wanderlei Silva in November.
Franklin last fought at Middleweight in 2008, defeating Travis Lutter at UFC 83, before moving up to the division he began his career at – Light Heavyweight. Franklin has also participated in two catchweight bouts at 195 lbs. since he left the Middleweight division. “Ace” was once the face of the division, defeating the late Evan Tanner for the UFC title back in 2005. Franklin successfully defending his title twice before losing to current champion Anderson Silva via TKO in 2006.
Although he came out on the losing end, Cung Le did earn Fight Of The Night honors in his UFC debut last year. The former Strikeforce champion will have a tough test in Franklin as he attempts to earn his first UFC victory. Both Franklin and Le are not in the title picture at Middleweight, but their star power should warrant a co-main event billing at UFC 148 in July.
UFC 148 is headlined by the third bout between Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz for Cruz’ bantamweight title and takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 7th, 2012.