S.I.'s Tom Hamlin has been reporting rumors that Rich Franklin, in preparation for his UFC 99 date with Wanderlei Silva, will attend Anderson Silva's Black House camp for a few weeks and then finish his preparation at Wanderlei's Wand Fight Team gym.
Franklin and Wanderlei reportedly like each other a great deal outside of the cage and Wanderlei prides himself on the open door policy of his gym, as long as its serious fighters, all are welcome.
Franklin training with Silva will come to a shock as many, considering their history. Any fan who has come to MMA in the last few years remember Franklin only as an Anderson Silva highlight reel, eating knees and struggling to be free of Silva's legendary Muay Thai clinch.
But turn back the clock three years and we find Rich Franklin 20-1 with a perfect 7-0 record in the UFC. His only career loss coming in a light heavyweight fight against some karate guy named Lyoto Machida...
Franklin has defended his UFC middleweight crown twice, has his name came up in many pound-for-pound discussions and is considering a move up to Light Heavyweight. His wrestling and standup were excellent and he was considered one of the best fighters in MMA.
Then along came Spider, hot off his :49 destruction of No. 1 Contender Chris Leben, Anderson Silva cleaned Franklin's clock. Franklin was decimated by Anderson's Muay Thai clinch and knees, and was forced to have reconstructive surgery on his broken nose following this beating.
Almost one year later to the day, Franklin found himself locked in a cage with Anderson Silva yet again, and yet again the fight ended with Franklin on his back and Silva's hand in the air.
Since then Franklin has searched for his place in the UFC. Refusing to allow the title of 'gatekeeper' be applied to him, Franklin has toyed with moving up to the Light Heavyweight.
Faced with Wanderlei, another master of the dreaded Muay Thai clinch, Franklin needs to shake up his training.
Training with Anderson Silva would be a huge shake up, not only would Franklin likely have an excellent chance of finally solving his problems with getting kneed in the head, it might finally remove the mental spectre that Anderson must cast over him.
Thus far Anderson Silva has stated Franklin has not contacted him about training but rumors persist. While the recent divide between Wanderlei and Anderson is well documented, Wanderlei has stated that Franklin's choice in training partners will not change his high opinion of Rich.
Now the rumor that Franklin is thinking of training at Wanderlei's gym makes not sense to me. The entire gym would be scouting for Wanderlei and I can see no real benefit in it for Franklin.
Now after their match I can't see why two fighters with as much respect as these two reportly have for each other can't train together but before they meet seems unlikely.