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Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

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A very odd feeling going into the UFC 115 fight with Chuck Liddell and Rich Franklin

By Zach Arnold | June 9, 2010

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As pointed out by Rich Franklin himself in recent interviews he’s done (here and here), he’s coming off of a long layoff and he said he was glad to take a break from the sport in order to heal up. With that said, he also stated that he would not fight a full-time schedule any more. It’s not exactly the kind of mindset you can sell easily to the masses to buy a PPV main event, but I give Rich a lot of credit for his honesty not only with himself but to the fans.

Which is why when I was listening to this Chuck Liddell interview with Josh Gross, I came away from the interview with the same reaction that I had for the Rich Franklin interviews. If you listen to what Chuck had to say, he sounds glad that he took the time off but that he’s ready to fight again and he’s taking it one step at a time.

How are your currently feeling? You are in Vancouver right now.

“I feel great, man, I’m in the greatest shape I’ve been in years. Feel really good about this. I’m quick, I’m strong, ready to go. I’m light. Lighter than usual but that’s good, I guess.”

Your trainer, John Hackleman, said he didn’t have to worry about getting you in shape during training camp. You already were in shape.

“Yeah, that was the biggest difference I think this time. You know, I was already shape going into camp and I spent the whole camp working on getting better and doing stuff, not just surviving the couple of weeks of camp getting in shape, you know.”

What was the thinking process like a year ago when there was talk about you retiring?

“You know, I was never considering not fighting again, really. You know I talked to everybody and ultimately it’s got to be my decision, I mean for me you know I need to decide I’m done. I still think I can compete. I still think, you know, I needed to make some lifestyle changes and make some training changes as far as you know staying in shape in the off-season and staying in shape all-year round. I got away with a lot of things for a long time and you know, just, need to improve on things, so I’ve been working on that stuff and I feel great. I just needed some time off. I’ve been in the grind since ’98. You know, I love fighting and getting out there but you know sometimes you just got to step away from it…”

Did you fall in love with the sport again?

“Definitely, I mean, I don’t think I ever fell out of it. You know I was getting a little burned out maybe. Now I’m excited to be back in and excited to be out there.”

What were some of the health issues you were facing?

“You know a lot of the physical stuff was just wear and tear on the body. … I just needed some time away from getting hit, too.”

When did you get back in the gym and how long did it take before you were back to training full-time?

“I was already, I mean by the time I didn’t even have mitts until probably December, so, I was plenty ready to get back in the gym and start going full-bore as soon as I was my timing was ready. My first sparring was late January.”

What was it like to live a different life away from MMA when you did Dancing with the Stars?

“It was interesting, you know doing something different for a little bit. … I really like training, having that goal, having something in front of me and having a fight coming up. I like training, I like getting ready for fights, I like fighting, so I mean it just reminded me how much I like that stuff.”

Dana White was so against you coming back. What did you do to convince him to give you another fight?

“Yeah, I mean I flew out to Vegas, we had a meeting and we sat down and talked, just me and him talked about it at my hotel room you know and I told him how I felt at the meeting and he said, OK, let me think about it, and let me figure out what we’re going to do.”

How quickly did he come back to you with a response?

“He came back pretty quickly and said, you know, let’s have you do The Ultimate Fighter again and get you back in there and I think it was one of the best things I did because I think it put me through that mini-camp during the thing for several weeks before I took three weeks before I went back into camp, so I think it was a real good thing for me.”

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 17 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

17 Responses to “A very odd feeling going into the UFC 115 fight with Chuck Liddell and Rich Franklin”

  1. Fluyid says:

    Big difference in the feeling of this main event compared to the last UFC main event. No hostility or smack talk, or really even much talk from one fighter about the other.

  2. Mr. Roadblock says:

    This to me is one of those fights like Oscar vs Hopkins or Oscar vs Mayorga or Hopkins/Jones where it’s a couple of name guys that are over the hill and not a threat to the young guys. But they should go in there and hopefully have a good fight.

    It means nothing. It shouldn’t be a PPV main event but it’s one of those ‘posterity fights’. If it’s good it’ll be replayed on Spike for years and it goes into the big fight resume of both guys.

    Also, UFC officially does all of the things Dana White said were bad about boxing in a slew of 2004-2007 interviews.

    • Yes. Agree totally. Couture/Noguiera was pretty similar last year, and given what these guys can do in the ring, it promises to be entertaining. I mean, looke – Silva/Liddell was years late, and it was still a great fight, wasn’t it?

  3. smoogy says:

    I can’t see this being a big PPV seller, even with the uptick in interest for a Canadian show. The last time either of the main event fighters had a great performance in the cage seems like a distant memory.

    • The Gaijin says:

      I’m a bit wary of this fight for the simple reason that Rich Franklin was able to have a pretty boring fight (for the usual standard – imo of course) with friggin’ Wanderlei Silva.

      • I thought the fight with Silva was good stuff. Bout with Henderson was too.

        • smoogy says:

          They were ok, but I’d say Franklin’s workrate leaves a lot to be desired.

        • Man, I dunno. My memory is that it was an exciting, back and forth fight in both the Silva and Henderson contests without degenerating into crappy kickboxing. There might be some staring early on Saturday night in the main event, but someone will come forward eventually. Good chance it’ll be Rich.

        • The Gaijin says:

          I’m probably just biased because it didn’t end with Franklin staring up at the lights taking really deep breaths…

  4. David M says:

    I loved Franklin’s fight with Wandy. One of my favorite fights last year.

    If this does north of 300k it should be considered a major success.

  5. Ivan Trembow says:

    Wow, both Brock Lesnar’s attorney and a UFC attorney (and former NSAC attorney) are saying that Steve Mazzagatti should not be one of the referees considered for the Lesnar-Carwin fight. They are both arguing that Mazzagatti is biased against Brock Lesnar, and they both cited comments made by Dana White about Mazzagatti’s competence as grounds for Mazzagatti not being considered.

    NSAC Chairwoman Pat Lundvall rejected their claims, so Mazzagatti’s name was officially still on the list of referees under consideration for the fight.

    Fortunately from the perspective of Lesnar and the UFC, all of that is moot.

    The referees are determined by NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer, who “recommends” the referee to the commissioners, and I have never heard a single instance of the commissioners not accepting his recommendation.

    Kizer has never “recommended” Mazzagatti for a Lesnar fight since Lesnar’s first fight against Frank Mir, and he didn’t “recommend” Mazzagatti this time, either. He “recommended” Josh Rosenthal, and of course, the commissioners immediately and unanimously agreed.

  6. Ivan Trembow says:

    In my previous comment, the “wow” is not regarding Lesnar’s attorney arguing against Mazzagatti being considered. That’s not new. What was surprising was UFC executive Michael Mersch, who cited comments made by Dana White as grounds for Mazzagatti not being considered.

    Mersch also argued that Mazzagatti is biased against Lesnar. One of the NSAC’s commissioners, Dr. Skip Avansino, said after these allegations were made that he doesn’t recall Zuffa ever bringing similar allegations to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The anti-Mazzagatti forces lost the symbolic battle when Pat Lundvall rejected their claims of bias, but they won the actual battle when Keith Kizer recommended Josh Rosenthal to be the ref for the fight.

    • smoogy says:

      It does paint a pretty funny picture of the kind of things that can happen at NSAC meetings. They might as well have the Commissioners draped in UFC and Tapout gear like they’re TUF contestants. Whoever is most corrupt wins the six figure contract!

      • The Gaijin says:

        What’s the over/under for Kizer becoming a Zuffa employee when he’s finished with the NSAC?

        3.5 months?

  7. EJ says:

    “With that said, he also stated that he would not fight a full-time schedule any more. It’s not exactly the kind of mindset you can sell easily to the masses to buy a PPV main event, but I give Rich a lot of credit for his honesty not only with himself but to the fans”

    I don’t see the problem here, Rich is a guy who used to fight alot and now he’s going to take more time off to perform better when he does. I don’t see how that can affect any interest in this fight one way or another, a guy like Rich should be more carefull when he fights he’s earned that right at this point in his career.

  8. SixT-4 says:

    North of 300k? Aren’t you forgetting this is Chuck Liddell?! Coming out of “retirement” and all! It’ll do 400k imo.

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