Luiz Cane: I Want to Fight Rich Franklin
Author: John Morgan (MMA Junkie)
The UFC's light heavyweight class has long been considered a marquee division. Deep on talent, the fighters at 205 pounds have put on classic matchups, and the second half of 2009 looks no different.
Lyoto Machida vs Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. Rashad Evans vs Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Forrest Griffin vs Anderson "The Spider" Silva.
But with a number of exciting fights lined up in the coming months, where does that leave Brazilian slugger Luiz Cane?
"I am here to fight whoever the UFC puts in front of me," Cane recently told MMA Junkie. "However, I would like that my next opponent be someone with a name and could move me closer to a shot at the belt."
Cane has been on the shelf since an April unanimous-decision win over Steve Cantwell at UFC 97: Redemption. A stand-up affair, the fight was the first time Cane had fought into the third round.
"I thought that it was a great fight, and I felt very comfortable throughout the bout," Cane said. "Even when I got hit a little harder, I felt fine.
"I was ready to go three rounds. That fight, without a doubt, was very important for me and made me evolve as a fighter."
An evolved Cane could prove a fierce challenge for anyone in the light-heavyweight division. With TKO wins over Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and Jason Lambert already in his past, Cane's lone loss came via disqualification to James Irvin in December 2007.
Having made small steps up the 205-pound ladder, Cane is now preparing to take a big leap forward.
"No one is unbeatable in the light-heavyweight division, which I believe is truly the toughest in the UFC," Cane said. "Even the champion can be beaten.
"Lyoto Machida is an excellent fighter, and his good counter-striking game and his unique style are definitely very different. But 'Shogun,' his next opponent, with the right gameplan and the right preparation can certainly beat him."
Cane was originally believed to be fighting Keith Jardine in April, but those plans changed when "The Dean of Mean" was pulled into a March contest with Jackson. While the 28-year-old Brazilian has no problems catering to the needs of his employer, Cane hopes the UFC will reward him with a big-name fight this fall.
"I work for the UFC, and I will fight whoever they say," Cane said. "I thought they gave me an excellent fight in Cantwell.
"But a fight that would fit perfectly would be against Rich Franklin. Without a doubt, this would be a fight that I would love to fight, and I am sure the fans would like to see it too."
Franklin is one of the few marquee names not currently tied to another fight at this time. And after earning a June win over Wanderlei Silva at UFC 99: The Comeback, Franklin could be available in the fall, Cane's currently targeted return date – provided "Ace" can get a new deal sorted out with the UFC in time to arrange the bout.
"I'm hoping to fight in the early fall," Cane said. "And I think the matchup with Franklin would be a great one if the UFC wants to see that fight.
"Until then, I am training hard as a part of American Top Team. I am very happy with this new phase of my career, and I know I will become an even better fighter training with guys at ATT."
Cageside's Take: Luiz Cane would be too much for Rich Franklin to handle. Cane by TKO in RD 2