Rich Franklin is the only one who won’t remember Saturday.
The former math teacher that swapped his calculator for a punching bag turned into a punching bag in the second-round of UFC 147. Wanderlei Silva nearly knocked out Franklin, but the American refused to lose. His ability to endure Silva’s onslaught proves that he still has plenty of fights left in him.
Franklin didn’t need a calculator to figure out that the odds were stacked against him before the fight even began. He faced off against Silva in Brazil, The Axe Murderer’s home country. Combine that with the fact that Franklin wasn’t even supposed to be in the octagon—he was scheduled to take on Cung Le in UFC 148 until an injury prevented Vitor Belfort from fighting Silva and Franklin stepped up as the replacement—and it looked like Silva was in position to get revenge for his 2009 loss vs. Franklin.
Following a flurry of second-round blows, Franklin’s odds weren’t improving. But he battled back, avoided a knock out and earned a victory by unanimous decision from the judges.
Kevin Richardson of the Baltimore Sun reported that Franklin admitted that his memory was cloudy after surviving Silva’s beating. He said after his triumph:
Honestly, I don't remember between the second and fifth rounds. I just remember my corner man saying it was the fifth round. When that kinds of stuff happens, you remember bits and pieces. My coach told me not to get greedy, to pick my punches. I thought I did a good job of that. I was operating on autopilot.
Despite ending Chuck Liddell’s career just over two years ago, Franklin’s ability to stay on top of the UFC world was anything but certain before his latest W. He was coming off a loss to Forrest Griffin, and another letdown would’ve given him four losses in his last seven fights. But Franklin’s display of a granite chin and unmatched determination will maintain his standing as a UFC asset even at 37 years old.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.