Franklin, a former high school math teacher, has a good understanding of his opponent. “I notice that Jason’s strength is in his ground game, and I know he has some great submissions and has put on a great show in the UFC,” he said. MacDonald’s 6-foot-3 frame and reach looks to pose a challenge for Franklin, who is 6-1 and likes to strike at the start of the matches, but Franklin sees MacDonald wanting to take the fight to where he has an advantage. But Franklin doesn’t think MacDonald (18-7) has an advantage on the ground or standing up. “I do believe I have a good ground game, and for safety purposes, it would be stupid of me to take the fight to ground, to his strong point,” he said. “… But I am looking to get the KO.” Franklin finds himself in the rare position of being a contender for the title. He defended successfully twice, but doesn’t feel rushed to get back into a title fight with Silva. Once again, Franklin is not returning to the Octagon to face an easy opponent as he will battle recent UFC addition Canadian Jason MacDonald Saturday in UFC 68 in Columbus, Ohio. MacDonald defeated both Ed Hermen and Chris Leben via submission in his two fights with the organization. “Physically I am where I need to be, and mentally I am ready to go. I can’t wait to get this fight out,” said the 32-year-old Franklin. “Every fight I go into the Octagon, I go to put on a show for the fans. I don’t think you’re going to see anything different from this performance to any performances as far as my effort. I don’t plan on walking in the ring and winning with a ‘safe’ victory or something like that to get back on track. I am just not that type of person mentally.” It seemed almost too easy for Rich Franklin to come into the Octagon and dominate opponent after opponent for nearly three years. He was 7-0 and defeated the likes of David Loiseau, Ken Shamrock and Evan Tanner during his tenure in the UFC. Overall, he sported a 20-1 record and looked to remain the middleweight champion for years until he met Anderson Silva at UFC 64 in October. In that title fight, Franklin (20-2) had a tough task in Silva because it was Franklin’s return to the Octagon after suffering a broken left hand in his win over Loiseau at UFC 58. But Franklin, being the gamer he is, did not want to take on an easier foe in his return and agreed to battle one of the best strikers in mixed martial arts. And nearly three minutes later, he was defeated via KO and in the process, lost his 185-pound crown and tasted defeat for the first time in the UFC. “It doesn’t matter to me,” Franklin said. “If the UFC comes to me and says that my next fight is against Silva for the title that is fine, or if they tell me my next fight is a contender match because other fellas have earned a title shot, then I am fine with that. … I just want to get back into the ring and fight.” For more MMA coverage, visit presstelegram.com/mixedmartialarts. Miguel Lopez can be reached at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!