VANCOUVER, CANADA - JUNE 11: UFC fighter Rich Franklin flexes during the weigh-in for UFC 115 at General Motors Place on June 11, 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Chuck Liddell will fight Franklin during UFC 115 June 12 in Vancouver. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Zuffa, LLC via Getty Images)
Believe it or not, there was a time when Anderson Silva wasn't the king of the middleweight mountain.
Indeed, rewind back to 2005 and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) promoters thought they had the sport's next big megastar in Rich Franklin, who defeated Evan Tanner for the 185-pound championship at UFC 53.
In fact, stories abound that the powers that be did their very best to protect "Ace" from losing the strap because they saw him as the potential poster boy for the promotion, a clean cut, good looking, well-spoken former teacher from Cincinnati.
But along came a "Spider" and his bite changed everything.
Franklin started his mixed martial arts (MMA) career with a stellar record of 22-1. Then he ran into Silva and not only did he lose the middleweight title, he was systematically destroyed in the rematch one year later, effectively ending his run in the division and sending him into catchweight purgatory.
Now, though, Franklin tells MMAWeekly.com he feels enough time has gone by that he can finally return to his old stomping grounds and make one more run at the belt, even if it's still strapped firmly around Silva's waist.
"After this injury, I was talking to Monte Cox and I said, 'what would the UFC think about me moving back down to 185?' I think at this point in time, in their minds, if I was able to put a title run together, even if they did do another rematch between Anderson (Silva) and I, there's been enough time at this point there would be interest in the fight, and I guess that's what the interest is now. ... Hopefully, this is where I'll finish my career."
If another title run sounds improbable to you, you're not the only one. In fact, Franklin himself admitted it would be a "Cinderella story" if he's able to accomplish this final goal before he calls it a career.
There's no telling how far away from a title shot he may be, or if it's even something UFC President Dana White would consider, but an impressive win against an exciting striker like Le could get the people talking.
Enough to demand a trilogy against Silva though?
You tell us, Maniacs. Do you dig Franklin back at 185-pounds? And would you pay for another fight against the man widely considered the pound-for-pound best in the world, maybe in history?