Liddell, Franklin Greenlit for UFC 115

By Brian Knapp Jun 11, 2010
In a little more than 24 hours, Chuck Liddell will cross the threshold into the Octagon one more time, despite losses in four of his last five fights and despite very public attempts by UFC President Dana White to usher him into retirement.

Liddell tipped the scales at 205 pounds for his showdown with former middleweight champion Rich Franklin (205) in the UFC 115 “Liddell vs. Franklin” main event on Saturday at the General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. None of the 20 other men booked to compete had issues meeting their weight requirements at Friday’s official weigh-in, including co-headliners Patrick Barry (248) and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (235).

The 40-year-old Liddell last competed 14 months ago, when he succumbed to first-round strikes from 2005 Pride Fighting Championships middleweight grand prix winner and current UFC light heavyweight king Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Urged by White to walk away from fighting, Liddell instead accepted a spot on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” hinting all the while that he intended to return to the cage. He has lost back-to-back fights by knockout but carries with him one of the sport’s most enduring resumes. It includes a pair of wins over former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz and fellow hall of famer Randy Couture, along with victories against one-time UFC light heavyweight titleholder Vitor Belfort and reigning Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem.

“It’s great to be back,” Liddell said. “I can’t wait to get back in the ring, back in front of everybody fighting.”

Franklin, 35, has not fought since his technical knockout loss to Belfort in September. A Cincinnati native, he counts victories over Brazilian icon Wanderlei Silva, the world-ranked Yushin Okami, UFC hall of famer Ken Shamrock and the late Evan Tanner among his 25 career conquests. Franklin has lost to only four men -- Belfort, one-time UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, current UFC middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva and former two-division Pride titleholder Dan Henderson -- in his decade-long career. He has never suffered back-to-back defeats.

“My training went really well,” Franklin said. “Mentally, physically, I’m in a great place. It’s Chuck Liddell. That’s all you have to say.”

UFC 115: Liddell vs. Franklin
Saturday, June 12
General Motors Place
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Chuck Liddell (205) vs. Rich Franklin (205)
Patrick Barry (248) vs. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (235)
Ben Rothwell (264) vs. Gilbert Yvel (243)
Carlos Condit (170) vs. Rory MacDonald (170)
Paulo Thiago (170) vs. Martin Kampmann (170)
Tyson Griffin (154) vs. Evan Dunham (155)
Mac Danzig (156) vs. Matt Wiman (156)
David Loiseau (185) vs. Mario Miranda (186)
James Wilks (170) vs. Peter Sobotta (171)
Claude Patrick (170) vs. Ricardo Funch (170)
Mike Pyle (170) vs. Jesse Lennox (170)
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