Rich Franklin: ‘I wasn’t the biggest Weidman believer at first’

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin discussed the upcoming main event at UFC 175 between Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida.

While he has since had a change of heart, Rich Franklin was not always the biggest believer in Chris Weidman's fighting ability.

The former UFC middleweight champion, who recently accepted the position of Vice President of ONE Fighting Championships, and began work in that official capacity at ONE FC: Honor & Glory last month, discussed the main event in detail with lastwordonsports.com, and even mentioned that he was not the biggest believer in Chris Weidman ahead of his two clashes with Anderson Silva.

"I tell you what, I wasn't a big Weidman believer at first, but looking at the second Anderson Silva fight, he looked great and had a solid gameplan," Franklin told lastwordonsports.com. "Lyoto & Anderson have this great ability to elude punches and draw you into their game. Lyoto is obviously a bit different than Anderson and he is a bigger fighter, and size hasn't played a big role in the Anderson fights, but I like how Weidman matches up with Lyoto. He is very patient as a fighter and I think that if there is any fighter out there who can knock a hole into Lyoto's game, it would be Chris."

Franklin holds a 12-6 record in the UFC, but has not fought since his KO loss to Cung Le back in November 2012. The former math teacher reigned as the middleweight champion between 2005-2006 before surrendering the gold to Anderson Silva, who would go on to rule the division for the better part of six years until he surrendered the title to Weidman last year.

When asked to break down the technical aspects of the contest, Franklin was unable to gauge whether Weidman would focus on his standup or wrestling against Machida, and referred back to the Silva title fights

"I think we are still at a stage of Chris Weidman's game, where we are seeing what his strategy is going in for fights. Obviously, he would try and take Machida down, but with Anderson he wasn't shy about standing up either, so honestly I don't know where the fight would end up being but it should be a good exciting fight."

UFC 175 takes place July 5 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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