Rich Franklin Already Looking Past Upcoming Showdown vs. Wanderlei Silva

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As a twelve-year veteran of mixed martial arts, Rich "Ace" Franklin is cognizant of the fact he is now in the twilight of his career—but the former champ's still not ruling out another run at the UFC's middleweight crown.

Stepping in on short notice to face Wanderlei Silva at UFC 147 in place of Vitor Belfort, who suffered a broken hand in training, "Ace" will step in the Octagon opposite legendary PRIDE vet, Silva, on June 23, as the evening's main event in a catchweight affair.

Although Franklin's last bout was a light heavyweight contest against Forrest Griffin, the former math teacher believes a win over Silva will put him back on track to title contention at middleweight.

"I talked to the UFC about dropping back down to 185, and they liked the idea. A win here I think will start jockeying me in that position, and I'll start looking at a possible title hunt after that."

Originally scheduled to face Sanshou specialist Cung Le at UFC 148, Franklin also elaborated on how this second meeting with Wanderlei puts him in a better position within a division currently ruled by another notable Silva.

"Wanderlei beat Cung in their last fight, so a win against Cung doesn't really do as much for me as a win against Wanderlei does, necessarily. So in that respect, this was a fight I was definitely more looking forward to taking. But on the other side of that argument, I believe that Wanderlei is a more dangerous fight that Cung is, too. So by picking up this fight, I may be making things more difficult on myself."

The last time Franklin and Silva clashed, both men picked up checks for a 'Fight of the Night' performance following a three-round UD victory tallied for Franklin. To see if Franklin can stay perfect against the "Axe Murderer" for the second time in his career, watch UFC 147 on June 23 on PPV.

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