Rich Franklin 'surprised' by Cung Le match-up, but ready to begin his 'Cinderella story'

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)

Rich Franklin may not be turning back into a pumpkin, but his "Cinderella Story" will undoubtedly be canned if he's kicked in the face by Cung Le's glass slipper at the UFC 148 pay-per-view (PPV) event from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 7, 2012.

"Sin City" is where the two former middleweight champions will trade leather in hopes of getting out of the loss column and "into the mix," a place Franklin hasn't seen since committing to sporadic appearances across multiple weight classes.

That's coming to an end against Le, in a fight that he tells MMA Sucka will mark the return to his "true home."

"I was reluctant to [go to 205] at first but eventually did and we recently talked to them about moving back down to 185. I am not a big 205'er and my success in the weight class has been mixed. I think 185 is my true home so they were interested. They said 'hey there are some good match-ups at 185 and they'll be good for you,' so we'll move in that direction. They presented me with Cung, I was kind of surprised by that but here we are. [Another title run] is my Cinderella story. That's absolutely exactly what I would want to do if I could end my career with a run at that title for 185 and getting the title for 185. What better story could you write then that? I don't want to put their carriage before the horse, right now I'm worried about Cung Le and we'll take care of that first."

Could we be looking at the rebirth of "Ace?" Or will "Cinderella" become "Sleeping Beauty" on fight night?

Franklin's been riding the pine for more than a year, having last competed at UFC 126 all the way back in Feb. 2011, a unanimous decision loss to Forrest Griffin. He was then booked to battle Brazilian bomber Antonio Rogerio Nogueira later that year but instead opted for shoulder surgery when his bout with "Lil' Nog" was scrapped.

Will the layoff affect him against the San Shou striker?

Le made the move over from Strikeforce last November in a 185-pound war against legendary "Axe Murderer" Wanderlei Silva at UFC 139. He opened with a strong first round, but eventually succumbed to the Brazilian's relentless pressure, falling by way of technical knockout.

He even had a nasty broken nose to show for it.

The part-time movie star is now healthy and raring to get back inside the Octagon and the promotion has granted him his wish. The match-up is preferable, too, considering the penchant for slinging leather (from both men).

Get ready for fireworks.

For more on Rich Franklin vs. Cung Le at UFC 148 click here.

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