Franklin has surgery, eyes 2012 return

Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, according to manager TJ Stewart.

The operation, which took place in Cincinnati, was deemed successful.

“I spoke with Rich; he’s feeling great and as soon as the doctor gives him the go-ahead, he’s ready to start training again,” Stewart said on Thursday. “If everything goes as expected, UFC fans could see Rich Franklin back in the Octagon in late summer [of 2012].”

Franklin, who now competes as a light heavyweight, suffered the injury in September during a grappling practice session.

The injury occurred weeks after Franklin was scheduled to compete Aug. 6 at UFC 133 in Philadelphia. Franklin was slated to face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the co-feature bout.

But Nogueira was forced to pull out of the fight in July after suffering a shoulder injury. Franklin (28-6, with 1 no contest) was removed from the card shortly thereafter.

Since his TKO loss to middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 77, Franklin has struggled to find consistency.

After a TKO victory over Travis Lutter at UFC 83, Franklin left the middleweight ranks to compete at light heavyweight. He is just 3-3 fighting above the 185-pound limit; two of his bouts were at a 195-pound catchweight.

Franklin was on the short end of a unanimous decision Feb. 5 against former 205-pound champion Forrest Griffin. It is the last time Franklin has competed inside the Octagon.