Two Sides of the Cage, Two Sides of the Sport.

rich franklin 300x175 Two Sides of the Cage, Two Sides of the Sport.On February 5th, former champions Forrest Griffin (17-6) and Rich Franklin (28-5) will meet at UFC 126. Though it will be the first time the two have stared across from each other in their shorts and gloves, Griffin and Franklin are more familiar with one another than you think.

Forrest’s breakthrough was a gritty win over Stephan Bonnar in what is regarded as one of the best fights of all time, came on April 9th, 2005. Just moments after Forrest has his hand raised and was crowned the winner of the inaugural ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ season, Rich was set to face UFC Hall of Fame member Ken Shamrock. Rich went on to score a smooth first round TKO and the victories opened the door for Griffin and “Ace” to become poster boys for the organization and the sport alike.

Rich’s dominance at Middleweight began at UFC 53 (an event in which Griffin made his Pay-Per-View debut) where he defeated Evan Tanner for the second time, winning the UFC Middleweight Championship. Franklin then went on to coach the second season of The Ultimate Fighter, the very show that earned Griffin a shot in the big leagues just months earlier

After a successful run of defenses, Franklin ran into current Middleweight kingpin, Anderson Silva, and had his title taken away from him within a single brutal round. He later was able to make it into the second round of their rematch, but once again was a victim of Silva’s knees. Just a month prior, Forrest had pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport when he choked out Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and then 10 months later, Forrest scored another upset when he won the Light heavyweight title from Quinton Jackson.

Recent ups and downs have seen these two former champions in a limbo, as they are two top competitors constantly fighting top competition. In fact, the men who handed Forrest and Franklin their most recent defeats, Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort respectively, will meet in the main event at UFC 126.

Both are coming off of wins, Forrest avenging his questionable decision loss to Tito Ortiz and Rich scoring a first round KO over Ortiz’s long-time rival Chuck Liddell, and definitely looking to stay relevant in a dynamic division. Their styles are mirror images of one another; two calculated, inhumanly conditioned, well-rounded athletes who push from bell to bell. Forrest and Franklin both simply love to compete, and after illustrious, paralleled careers, they will have the opportunity to compete at the exact same moment in time, and have their legacies properly intertwined.

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