Rich Franklin targeting a late December return date, says his home is at 185-pounds

via cdn3.sbnation.com

Welcome to "No Man's Land," population one: Rich Franklin.

The former middleweight champion was 32-years-old in Oct. 2006 when he lost his title to Anderson Silva, who still holds it to this day, and began his fall from grace as a top dog in the mixed martial arts world.

He won a couple fights after to earn a rematch with "The Spider" but was blasted so badly, his bosses decided it would be best for him to take his talents to the light heavyweight division, even if it didn't fall in line with his preferences.

Since his removal from the middleweight division, he's fought four times at 205-pounds and had two bouts at a catchweight of 195-pounds. The results? Decidedly mixed, with "Ace" compiling a mediocre 3-3 record.

Franklin has made it clear he greatly prefers fighting at 185-pounds, saying it's a more natural weight class for his body type. But is that where he'll land in his next fight, which he says will be in late December? Don't count on it, as he said at a recent function in Illinois (via Bloody Elbow):

"I've always said 185 is my home. But they [the UFC] don't want me to be there, so it's 205."

The UFC is in quite the conundrum regarding Franklin and what to do with him for the rest of his career.

On the one hand, he's most certainly a better fit for the middleweight division if for no other reason, than his physical makeup. But he's lost two separate fights against the champion in the division, so what's the point of having him try to work back towards a title shot?

Then again, at 36-years-old (he'll turn 37 on Oct. 14), what are the chances he'll make his way to a title shot in any division, especially now that he lost his last fight to Forrest Griffin at light heavyweight?

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.

Rich Franklin vs. Tito Ortiz on Nov. 12 at UFC on FOX anyone?

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