Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin will train with current 185-pound title-holder Anderson Silva for his UFC 99 195-pound catchweight headliner against Wanderlei Silva, according to the Dayton Daily News.
Anderson Silva has defeated Franklin twice inside the octagon, first at UFC 64 in October 2006 to capture the middleweight title, which he has yet to relinquish, and again at UFC 77 in October 2007.
According to the report, which cited sources close to Silva while Franklin’s manager declined to comment, Franklin will spend some time away from his traditional camp with Matt Hume in Seattle to train with Silva in California.
After failing to get past Silva in two attempts, Franklin moved up to the light heavyweight division, where he defeated Matt Hamill in his 205-pound debut before falling to Dan Henderson in the UFC 93 main event in January. Meanwhile, losses in four of his last five fights at light heavyweight have sent Silva packing for the middleweight division. The UFC 99 headliner will be Wanderlei’s first test at shedding weight, and he’ll face another stiff test in Franklin, who has lost just three times in eleven UFC bouts and held the 185-pound belt for more than a year.
The move is likely to further the recent tension between Anderson and Wanderlei and could lead to a matchup between the pair later this year, particularly if Wanderlei is victorious in the UFC 99 main event.