Silva vs. Franklin: What's Next for the Two Legendary Fighters?

Austin GreenCorrespondent IJune 26, 2012

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva are just shells of their former selves, but they proved at UFC 147 that they are still potent forces inside the octagon.

Franklin used his precision strikes and constant movement to defeat Silva by unanimous decision, but the former Pride middleweight champion didn't go down easy. He landed a couple thunderous blows throughout the fight, including a vicious right hand that found its home on Franklin's chin in the second round.

Franklin was able to recover, though, keeping his hopes for another middleweight title alive.

There's no obvious next step for the 37-year-old Franklin, who has repeatedly said that he wants one more title shot before he retires. There is currently a logjam behind the top two middleweights—Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen—with the likes of Vitor Belfort, Mark Munoz, Luke Rockhold, Hector Lombard, Chris Weidman and Alan Belcher all potentially standing in the way of Franklin's goal.

Right now, the most likely opponents for his next fight appear to be Belcher and Belfort. Both are coming off impressive victories (Rousimar Palhares and Anthony Johnson, respectively) and don't have their next fights scheduled.

Either fight would be intriguing, and a victory would put Franklin in prime position to face the winner of Silva-Sonnen for the middleweight crown.

Meanwhile, Silva is stuck in the UFC's version of purgatory. He's lost seven of his last 10 fights, and at 35 years old, he's got no shot at climbing the ladder for another title shot.

That being said, the legendary Brazilian is still one of the most entertaining fighters in the sport. Three of his last five bouts have earned Fight of the Night honors, and he proved on Saturday that his powerful right hand is still one of the most dangerous weapons in MMA.

Some have called for Silva to retire, but if he wants to continue, there will certainly be a place for him in future UFC events.