Friday, July 20, 2012
UFC wants Cung Le vs. Rich Franklin in China
The fighters initially were slated to fight at UFC 148 until the bout was scrapped to make other matchups.
But if Le is healthy enough to fight at the November event, UFC president Dana White wants to pit him against former champion Franklin.
UFC on FUEL TV 6 takes place Nov. 10 at Cotai Arena, Venetian Macau Resort Hotel in the Chinese special administrative region. The event's main card airs on FUEL TV, and Le vs. Franklin likely would serve as the headliner.
"If he fights in China, he will
fight Rich Franklin," White said.
White, though, said the Sanshou kickboxer and former Strikeforce champion is in a walking cast due to some bone bruising suffered in his UFC 148 win over Patrick Cote. They plan to talk again on Monday for an update on his recovery.
Le has averaged just one MMA fight per year since 2007. Following his Cote victory, which came via unanimous decision, Le mentioned the possibility of taking some time off to heal and reassess his situation. But White immediately mentioned the possibility of the Macau card.
After being pulled from the UFC 148 bout with Le, Franklin was tapped to replace Vitor Belfort and won the UFC 147 headliner against Wanderlei Silva back in June. Now, both Le and Franklin – who are at least a few more wins away from serious title contention – need marketable opponents, which they would provide for each other.
Both are on the tail end of their careers, and Franklin, who dabbled at light heavyweight in recent years, has announced his intentions of staying at middleweight. The timing is right, and the initial announcement of their matchup was met with largely positive reactions. If Le's recovery allows, it appears the UFC is ready to pounce on the matchup.