Having once ruled the UFC middleweight division, Rich Franklin now says that he is on the cusp of retirement.
In fact, Franklin told Inside MMA recently that he expects to fight one more time and that it will be his swan song.
Franklin won the UFC 185-pound strap in June of 2005, defeating the late Evan Tanner for the honor. He made two title defenses before a wrecking machine named Anderson Silva entered the Octagon.
Silva took the belt from Franklin. Even though he earned a rematch, Franklin couldn’t win his belt back. The rematch was in late 2007.
Franklin has remained competitive at the upper end of the middleweight division ever since, alternating between wins and losses.
“I lost my last fight (to Cung Le), and that really kind of solidified my decision to make this my last fight coming up,” Franklin told Inside MMA. “I know that took me out of title contention, and so for me to actually get back in the title hunt again would be a couple years worth of work.”
But at 39 years of age, time is running short on his mixed martial arts career, and Franklin is prepared to move on to the next chapter in his life.
“I’ll be 40 next year, and it’s getting to the point where it’s late in my life, and it’s really too late to make that title run. So I started questioning, what am I really fighting for if I can’t make it to the title anymore? I know I’m not in title contention anymore, and I realize that. That’s how it is.”
Franklin has already begun his post-fight career, launching into the juice business.
“(The juice business) will be my next phase,” he told MMAWeekly.com earlier this year. “In some capacity I’ll be involved in MMA. I’m not sure if I’ll end up commentating or analyzing or whatever way the UFC will end up using me in the future, but I don’t know how financially rewarding that will be. I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket, so I need to make sure I diversify with my income.”
While selling organic fruit juice might not seem like an obvious choice of direction for a former fighter, Franklin feels that the expertise that has helped him continue to hold his own in the UFC will serve him well in the next phase of his professional life.
“I’m very passionate about nutrition,” said Franklin. “I’m a fighter who’s very specific about nutrition and the way that I train and my work ethic. I could stand here and talk nutrition all day with you, so it’s a business that makes sense.”
It remains to be seen who Franklin will face in his final fight; “somebody who makes sense” is that matters to him. The next stage of his life has already begun, and he sounds content with what he was able to achieve in the fight game.