Rich Franklin Steps in for Tito Ortiz and Looks to Send Chuck Liddell into Retirement (For Good)
June 7, 2010 – 8:35 am by Chris Fedor
This weekend, two legends of MMA will get inside the cage for the first time ever. It was supposed to be Chuck Liddell coming off a 14 month layoff to take on Tito Ortiz for the final time. Ortiz vs. Liddell has been a big rivalry in the UFC for nearly a decade and given that they were the two coaches featured on this season’s “Ultimate Fighter,” it would’ve been an epic third showdown between the two. However, Ortiz had to pull out of the fight and Rich Franklin will take his spot. Much like Liddell, Franklin has been off for a while since his last loss inside the cage. Despite the fact that both these fighters looked like they were just about done in MMA, but judging by the amount of ticket sales, this fight might be even more anticipated than Liddell-Ortiz.
Rich Franklin joined WCKY in Cincinnati with Mo Egger to talk about how he is feeling heading into his fight against Chuck Liddell, on whether or not he likes Liddell, and how much the layoff will hurt both him and Liddell in this fight.
On how he feels heading into the fight and whether or not he is completely recovered:
“Yeah, that was about an eight week recovery completely which put me about mid-March and I’ve been full go since then. I was a bit hesitant. I remember the first couple of days I was back in training and sparring, I was a bit hesitant to get kicked in the stomach and stuff like that. The first time I got hit square in the belly button I was kinda feeling around and like ‘well, everything’s good to go.’
On making Liddell lose his fifth fight in his last six:
“I’m assuming so. I have the controlling hand in that and that’s the plan.”
On whether or not Chuck Liddell is going to try and use some of his Dancing With the Stars moves:
“I like Chuck. He’s a good guy. I doubt he’s going to, just based on his Dancing With the Stars performance, just mesmerize me with some of his moves.”
On how rusty he thinks he will be after a nine month layoff:
“The thing is, in this sport, it’s kinda crazy because you’re expected to take three or four fights a year in mixed martial arts, but when you look at the top level boxers, often times boxers have anywhere from six to twelve months between fights. It’s a normal thing for that to happen. For myself particularly, I’ve had nine months since my last fight and if I was a top-level professional boxer, it wouldn’t be so abnormal but in this sport people are like, whoa what do you think about ring rust. In Chuck’s case, he’s had 14 months off. I don’t know if that’s going to be a factor or anything like that but he looked to be in the best shape I’ve ever seen him in when I saw him recently. I heard he hired a new wrestling coach so as far as getting a gauge on this fight, I’m not really sure what his game plan will be coming in. I don’t know if were gonna see the same Chuck we normally see or if he’s gonna try to switch things up and look to take me down or what his game plan will be.”
On how he got picked to fight Liddell:
“What happened was he and Tito are now doing the Ultimate Fighter. Tito got hurt, something with his neck. I don’t know all the details of that but what I do know is Dana (White) called me one night and said ‘look Tito is hurt, I need you to step in and fight Chuck because I need to put on a good show and I think the fans would be interested in seeing it,’ which we know they are because this is the fastest sellout they’ve ever had. He said I want you to come in. I do the last two episodes of the Ultimate Fighter and I’m there basically to finish coaching the guys and help hype up a fight between Chuck and I and that’s how all this stuff came about.”
Listen to Rich Franklin on WCKY in Cincinnati here (Audio begins 27:20 into the podcast)
Tags: Chuck Liddell, MMA, Rich Franklin, Rich Franklin vs Chuck Liddell, UFC 115, WCKY