Rich Franklin shoulder surgery successful; 'Ace' slated for summer 2012 return

Former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin undewent successful surgery yesterday (Oct. 12, 2011) to repair a torn labrum suffered in training camp.

Franklin's manager, T.J. Stewart, gives an update to ESPN:

"I spoke with Rich; he’s feeling great and as soon as the doctor gives him the go-ahead, he’s ready to start training again. If everything goes as expected, UFC fans could see Rich Franklin back in the Octagon in late summer [of 2012]."

Franklin was booked to throw hands opposite Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 133 last August in Philadelphia; however, "Lil' Nog" was unable to hold up his end of the bargain and withdrew from the pay-per-view contest due to injury.

That left the American Fighter in no man's land, a territory he's become more familiar with since the end of his last title reign.

Since departing the middleweight division, he's fought four times at light heavyweight and had two bouts at a catchweight of 195-pounds. The results? Decidedly mixed, with "Ace" compiling a mediocre 3-3 record.

There are still plenty of opponents to keep the former math teacher employed, but It might be time to go the Matt Hughes/Randy Couture route and just give him "interesting" fights that fans would enjoy but won't necessarily affect divisional rankings.

Who would you like to see him fight in his 2012 return? Tito Ortiz? Little Nog?

Someone else?

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