Former middleweight champion Rich Franklin (23-3) is possibly packing on 20 pounds for a light heavyweight clash against Matt Hamill (4-1) at UFC 88: "Breakthrough" at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Ga., on September 6, according to MMARated.com.
This news arrives on the heels of the recent announcement that UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva would compete against James Irvin at 205 pounds on July 19, testing the waters for a possible move up the division for the Brazilian to chase several big money showdowns.
"Ace" is among the best 185-pound fighters in the world. The only problem is that he can't defeat the "Spider" -- he's lost twice in the past two years in devastating fashion. Perhaps this decision on his part will afford him the opportunity to also take some big fights and earn another title shot at 205 pounds if not 185.
Franklin -- who is considered big for the division -- has competed at light heavyweight inside the Octagon before, bashing Ken Shamrock in the inaugural The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Finale back in 2005.
That high profile win earned him a middleweight title shot against then champion, Evan Tanner. Franklin won that fight, as well as five of his next seven. However, it's the two losses during that span to Silva that have perhaps prompted this latest move.
In fact, Franklin has admitted in the past the right now a third fight against Silva just would not be all that interesting for the fans. And he's right.
There's no telling if this move is permanent or not, but it makes sense at this time.
Hamill is a very large and aggressive light heavyweight, winning four out of five fights since his graduation from TUF back in 2006. "The Hammer" has tremendous wrestling ability and improving stand up.
He demonstrated those advances in his most recent win against Tim Boetsch at UFC Fight Night 13, taking out "The Barbarian" via technical knockout.
Interesting match up here with Franklin to say the least, who also happens to be an Ohio native like Hamill. To check out the rest of the rumored UFC 88 card click here.