Wanderlei Silva vs. Rich Franklin: What a Win Would Mean for Silva at UFC 147

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Wanderlei Silva vs. Rich Franklin: What a Win Would Mean for Silva at UFC 147
BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - JUNE 22: (L-R) Opponents Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin face off after making weight during the UFC 147 weigh in at Estadio Jornalista Felipe Drummond on June 22, 2012 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

UFC 147 is a huge night for MMA legend Wanderlei Silva, who will be fighting in his home country of Brazil for the first time since the year 2000. Not only will he be fighting at home Saturday, but he'll also be headlining the card against UFC veteran Rich "Ace" Franklin.

It won't be the first time that Silva and Franklin have squared off in the cage. The two combatants fought back at UFC 99 in 2009, with Franklin taking home a hard-fought unanimous decision. It was an exciting, back-and-forth contest that earned Fight of the Night honors.

At the time, both men were hovering just outside of title contention at light heavyweight, but their second meeting will be under different circumstances. The second fight is being considered more of a throwback, as Franklin and Silva have both faded from relevance in the UFC. The consensus is that both are nearing retirement.

Though Silva is no doubt excited to be competing in his homeland, there is a lot of pressure on him to win this fight.

So what would a win at UFC 147 represent for Wanderlei Silva?

First off, it means that the fans in attendance go home happy. Brazilian fans are known for their deep respect for the sport of mixed martial arts and will likely have no problem cheering Franklin if he wins, but there's no doubt that the fans will be hoping for their countryman to emerge victorious.

Moreover, a victory would prove to all of Silva's doubters that he still has something to give in MMA. Having suffered multiple devastating knockouts and losing more than half his fights since returning to the UFC in 2007, most believe that Silva is washed up.

UFC 147 is Silva's chance to show fans and the UFC brass alike that he isn't done. If he loses, he will be 3-5 since returning to the UFC, and it's likely that UFC President Dana White will strongly suggest retirement.

Silva needs this win for the fans and for the sake of his diminishing reputation.

Andrew Barr is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and a stand-up comedian. Check him out on Twitter @AndrewBarr8.

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