The UFC announced yesterday that former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin would be returning to action to take on the former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le. The bout is scheduled to take place at UFC 148 on July 7th from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and will mark the return to the middleweight division for Franklin.
Franklin (28-6, 1NC) hasn’t fought at 185 lbs. since defeating Travis Lutter at UFC 83 on April 19th of 2008. Since that time he’s fought six times though, twice at a 195 pound catchweight and four times at light heavyweight. Franklin has been out of action for over a year though and is coming off a unanimous decision lose to Forrest Griffin at UFC 126. Franklin was expected to face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira last August, but a shoulder injury forced him to withdraw from the matchup.
Le (7-2) made his UFC debut in November against Wanderlei Silva at UFC 139, losing via second round TKO. The always entertaining striker looked well in his debut even though he has not fought much since 2007. The Sanshou fighter has been doing more movies than fighting these days but is always training and looks to get his first UFC win against a very tough opponent and former champion.
UFC 148 will coincide with the UFC fan Expo that runs on Friday and Saturday inside Mandalay Bay. With the card just starting to take shape, the Franklin vs. Le bout will likely wind up on the nights main card.