• UFC 133

Franklin rejected chance to stay on UFC 133 card

ESPN staff
July 22, 2011 « Wenger admits Nasri's future remains doubtful | Chartbeat test »

Dana White has revealed Rich Franklin turned down the chance to stay on the UFC 133 card by fighting Alexander Gustafsson.

The UFC president is not angry with Franklin though, revealing the former middleweight champion's motives were understandable. Now a veteran of the sport, White said he understood why Franklin only wanted big-name fighters.

The chaos was sparked by Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, who was forced out of a fight with Franklin due to injury. Consequentially, Franklin was pulled from the card, seemingly lacking a replacement opponent.

However, White has revealed he offered Swedish star Gustafsson, only for Franklin to reject the idea. Gustafsson will now take on Matt Hamill.

"It's not that we decided to take him off the card, we were looking at other opponents and we had [one], but Rich didn't want to take that fight," White told MMA Fighting. "He said 'You know what man, I'm at a stage in my career where I only want to fight the top of the heap, the top name guys.'

"I don't blame him. You know me, when we're looking to make a new fight and we have people available and an opponent there, I expect that you should take that opponent, but I don't disagree with Rich's position on it. It was Gustafsson.

"He's like 'Listen man, I've been around forever, I've been a world champion, I'm switching the fight this soon, I want to fight one of the top guys.' He wants to get back in position to take on some of the top competition in the UFC."

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