Rich Franklin Likely To Face Chuck Liddell At UFC 115A light heavyweight showdown between former UFC champions Rich “Ace” Franklin and Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell is reportedly in the works for UFC 115 in June. Both fighters have verbally agreed to the fight according to multiple reports from earlier today.

Liddell was originally scheduled to meet old rival Tito Ortiz for the third time on the card, but reports have stated that Ortiz withdrew partway through the filming of the latest season of Tle Ultimate Fighter. Franklin stepped in to replace Ortiz and is expected to take his spot in the fight.

Franklin (25-5-0, 1 NC) held the UFC Middleweight Championship for 18 months before falling to current champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva at UFC 64 in 2006. He has since returned to the light heavyweight division, which he called home for much of the early stages of his career. Franklin is 3-2 since losing to Silva for the second time and holds recent victories over Matt “The Hammer” Hamill and long-time PRIDE champ Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva. A victory over the aging Liddell would put Franklin back in the hunt for title contention.

Liddell (21-7-0) reigned supreme in the UFC’s light heavyweight division for over two years until he was defeated for the second time by Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 71. He has since won just one time in three fights and is coming off of back-to-back knockout losses. With his best days clearly behind him, the legendary Liddell pondered retirement and was seemingly out of mixed martial arts until the announcement that he would coach opposite heated rival Ortiz on The Ultimate Fighter 11. With those plans now changed, Liddell will face a tough test if the fight with Franklin takes place.

At this time, it is not known what caused Ortiz to bow out of the filming of season 11 of TUF, but it is said to not be injury-related. Both Ortiz and former adult film star Jenna Jameson, with whom Ortiz has twins, recently posted cryptic messages on their Twitter accounts that led to speculation that there may be problems between the two. This has not been confirmed, but Ortiz’s participation at UFC 115 appears to be off. Franklin replaced Ortiz as Liddell’s opposing coach on TUF 11 after Ortiz withdrew.

UFC 115 is currently set to take place on June 12th at General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The date and venue are subject to ongoing approval from the Vancouver Athletic Commission regarding MMA regulation in the city.

Update: UFC President Dana White has since stated that the promotion is still intending to match Franklin up against UFC Hall of Famer Randy “The Natural” Couture, not Liddell. No mention of the fight between Liddell and Ortiz was made. Further information will follow when available.


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