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Bisping would love to fight 'all-time great' Franklin

ESPN staff
November 2, 2012
Michael Bisping has huge respect for Rich Franklin © Getty Images

Michael Bisping has expressed his desire for a future fight with Rich Franklin, revealing he looks up to the former UFC middleweight champion.

Bisping's name is currently being linked to a showdown with Vitor Belfort at 185lbs, as the Brit attempts to earn that one victory that will land him a title shot at Anderson Silva.

Amid growing rumours regarding the Belfort fight, Bisping told ESPN he would be up for meeting the Brazilian if offered the bout by the UFC. However, Belfort is not the only man Bisping wishes to face.

Silva is clearly the Brit's No. 1 pick, but he would also like to silence the buzz surrounding Chris Weidman, a man who has "very very poor stand-up" according to Bisping. One further potential rival would be Alan Belcher, mainly because he has spoken out against Bisping on more than one occasion.

"Alan Belcher has been calling me out for a long time, he's been quite impressive, so I'd love to fight that guy," Bisping said. "Anderson, Weidman, Belcher... they're three names I'd like to fight."

However, Franklin also figures in Bisping's plans, although for the completely opposite reason to why he wants to take on Belcher. Bisping has nothing but respect for Franklin, who was the last middleweight champion before Silva came on the scene.

Both men like to fight tactically and have excellent boxing and footwork in the stand-up. Aside from the fact Franklin is a southpaw Bisping sees plenty of similarities - believing they would put on an excellent battle.

"Rich Franklin, I've always thought he'd be a good fight," Bisping said. "I've always looked up to Rich Franklin, he's an incredible fighter, he's got incredible passion for the sport, we match up well in terms of a fight, and he'd be a tough fight.

"I'd like to fight him out of respect - he's one of the all-time greats. I've got nothing but respect for Rich, he's a fantastic fighter."

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