On September 6th in Hong Kong, the UFC held its first Asia press conference for UFC FUEL TV 6 in Macao, China on November 10th. The main event was announced to be Rich Franklin versus Cung Le. Rich is the former Middleweight Champion for the organization. He successfully defended his belt twice before relinquishing the belt to Anderson Silva in 2006 – at the time he had a 22-1 record. Since that fight, Rich has only been matched up against the cream of the crop. This will be his second fight of 2012 after a decision win over Wanderlei Silva in Brazil at UFC 147, for which he won Fight of the Night honors. After the panel and open workouts, MMA-in-Asia was able to catch up with Rich for a short interview.
You’ve done 4 fights in 4 countries in a row. Does Macau, China make 5 in a row?
Let’s see, let me think backwards. Probably. This one, the one before was Brazil, the one before that was Vegas – that’s a different country – then the one before that was Vancouver, Canada. No, then I think it was the States again. But I had Germany in there. This will be the sixth fight, plus Japan. Now I’m in Hong Kong.
When did you arrive? Your work out was pretty crisp, no jet lag?
That little thing? Oh I can do anything for 5 or 10 minutes. But I’ll see what that looks like 45 minutes in! The one thing I’ve found with jet lag is that coming out of gates, you’re good, but you tank real quick. I wouldn’t realize it when I’m jet lagged and 20 minutes into a workout and I think, man, I shouldn’t be as tired as this, is my cardio bad? What’s going on? And then I realize it’s the jet lag.
So are you coming over early then? Are you going to do your fight camp at Evolve?
Yeah, I’ll do the last several weeks at Evolve. I’ll probably head down mid-Octoberish and finish two weeks there, then come here for fight week, something like that. I’ve done camp there before, for the beginning 6 weeks of a 9 week camp with Wanderlei. So I’m familiar with the area, I know where to get my groceries. My nutrition won’t get disrupted which will make my weight cut easier. All that stuff’s really key when you’re doing this kind of thing. Because if you miscue on weight, a pound or two can really make the difference between having a good fight and not having a good fight.
Who are you going to bring in to corner? Do you know yet?
I don’t know. My boxing coach is working right now with Dave Batista, the wrestler, they’re doing their self-promotion. So he’s down in Tampa working with him. I’ll for sure bring my kickboxing coach. I don’t know what I’m going to do about my ground guy yet. I’ll talk to some of the guys at Evolve and see if maybe I’m going to bring some of their coaches. I haven’t started camp – I’m never out of shape – but I don’t officially start my camp until I’m done with this trip. The 15th is my start date. I’ll button all that stuff up what I get home.
How much weight do you normally cut?
You’ve got 3 fight of the nights I think [correction: 2 FOTNs, 1 KO OTN], and Cung’s got one, so this should be a pretty exciting fight, don’t you think?
I don’t know if I’ve got 3 fight of the nights, that would be news to me. I don’t keep track of that, I don’t have an ego like that.
You don’t keep track of the money?
Okay… that’s what it’s all about! Well it’s a business, but I’m not a greedy person. I’ll just fight Cung, I really like Cung, we had breakfast together. But this is business. We’re professionals, we’ll be fine, but just set everything aside on fight day. Then probably afterwards we’ll go hang out.
How do you feel about the 5 rounds?
I like five. If you watch my fights, I get stronger as the fight goes on, so five rounds has probably been my favorite always. If you look at my Forrest Griffin fight, it was a horrible fight. It was probably the most uneventful fight I’ve ever had. I’m not going to take any blame for that because Mazagatti should have stood us up. If that was a five round fight, it would have been different. When they made that announcement that I’m the main event with five rounds, that’s great.
I read you want another crack at Anderson Silva?
Yeah, I think that would be a good Cinderella fight.
Good luck, I’m sure you guys are going to put on a fantastic fight for us.
Yeah, we will.