Former UFC champions Rich Franklin (28-6) and Tito Ortiz (16-9-1) are two men on opposite ends of the stylistic spectrum in terms of public perception, yet they share more parallels than many would like to admit. Both fighters, once mainstays within the upper echelon of the promotion, now find themselves gazing upwards as a new generation of mixed martial artists storm through the divisional ranks.
While a title shot is likely out of the question for both Ortiz and Franklin at this stage of the game, both men remain relevant in both name and stature, headlining events while carrying the mantle of the previous era's stars on their back. Yet, despite the fact that the two have served as colleagues for nearly a decade, the possibility of a potential matchup between them has never truly been mentioned. That is, until now.
In a live UStream session with fans Friday afternoon, UFC President Dana White confirmed that Ortiz and Franklin may finally find themselves at odds after all these years.
"Still working on fights for Tito," White said. "But we do like the idea of Tito vs. Rich Franklin."
While the matchup may not mean much in the grand scheme of the light heavyweight division, interest in such a titanic clash of the old guard would be almost guaranteed. Because of this, Franklin has no reservations regarding the idea (via MMAWeekly.com).
"The fans have talked about how they would be interested in that fight," Franklin told MMAWeekly.com about facing Ortiz. "It's something the fans have talked about being an entertaining fight, and if it's something the UFC wanted to put on, I'd be open to that."
After being forced off the card of UFC 133 due to an injury to scheduled opponent Antonio Rogerio Nogueria, the 36-year-old Franklin mentioned he would like to fight in the Octagon one more time before the end of the year, with December being the most logical target.
Likewise, as the 36-year-old Ortiz takes some time off after fighting two bouts in two months, his return could come at a similar time period, especially if the matchup is worth its weight in public demand.
No date has been set in stone for the rumored bout between the two future Hall of Famers, but right now the idea appears to carry the popular sentiment. And really, as any who follow the UFC already know, popular sentiment almost always wins out.