Franklin taps foe-turned-friendly Spider

JOSE RODRIGUEZ

, Last Updated: 11:17 AM ET

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em for some one-on-one training.

That's Rich "Ace" Franklin's philosophy in enlisting Anderson "Spider" Silva to help prep for another equally lethal Brazilian.

"Anderson and I, we've been friends since after the second fight he and I had together," says Franklin, who has lost two title bouts to the lanky Muay Thai expert.

"On several occasions, we tried to train together, but scheduling-wise, it just didn't seem to work out. Then, his manager contacted me several weeks ago and asked me if I was interested in coming out there (to California) to train for this fight."

Franklin checked with his coaches, who thought it was a good idea.

"So I decided to head out to L.A. and trained for a couple of weeks," says the 34-year-old former Ohio high school teacher.

"You know, I learned a few things while I was out there, and, all in all, it was a decent camp.

"That seemed like a good resource for this fight in particular."

Franklin is preparing to take on Wanderlei "Axe Murderer" Silva at UFC 99 in Cologne, Germany, next Saturday.

Franklin, a former middleweight champ, says it's not out of character for him to turn men he's fought into training partners and friends.

"I'm friendly with everybody," says Franklin (24-4, with one no-contest).

"I mean, typically, once I fight somebody I assume that I'm probably not going to end up fighting them again. And so, as a professional, one to the other, often times you can end up using somebody as a resource in the future."

That extends to everyone he's faced in the past.

195-LB. CATCHWEIGHT BOUT

"If (Montreal's) David Loiseau was to call me up and ask me if I'd help him prep for a fight or something like that, if it worked out in my schedule, then I would have no problem doing that."

Franklin and Wanderlei -- no relation to Anderson -- will be the main event on the inaugural German UFC show and will fight at a catchweight of 195 lbs. Both fighters are transitioning to different weight classes, with Wanderlei dropping from 205 to fight in the 185-lb. class and Franklin doing the reverse.

Both are also coming off losses -- Franklin to Dan Henderson and Wanderlei to Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.

Still, Franklin feels no added pressure.

"I try not to put a lot of weight on fights like that, like a must-win situation and all that kind of stuff," he says.

"I just prep for this fight the same way I prep for any other fight. And as far as Wanderlei goes, as an opponent, I mean this is a great opportunity for me to fight another great fighter."

UFC 99 will also feature a heavyweight tilt between Cheick Kongo and Cain Velasquez, as well as the return of former top heavyweight Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, who will take on Mustapha al Turk.

JOSE.RODRIGUEZ@SUNMEDIA.CA


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