by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Hermes Franca knows what it’s like to have his back to the wall and in desperate need of a win.
After suffering five losses in seven bouts from 2004 to 2005, Franca was in danger of completely falling off the MMA radar, when he righted the ship and pulled off an impressive eight-fight winning streak, which earned him an Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight title shot against Sean Sherk at UFC 73.
Unfortunately Franca lost the fight, and even worse, he served a year-long suspension handed down by the California State Athletic commission for violating the state’s anti-steroid policy.
A loss in his return fight to Frankie Edgar in July of this year placed him in a must-win situation at this past weekend’s UFC UFC 90 event against Marcus Aurelio, and Franca once again rebounded.
“When you fight and go home a winner, it’s great, it’s priceless,” he said of his victory over Aurelio.
“I can say that fight was real good because I was reborn again. My warrior spirit was broke and I wanted to show who the real Hermes Franca is.”
Normally Hermes is one of the nicest fighters in the sport, but it couldn’t help but be noticed the aura of bad blood surrounding he and Aurelio. This manifested itself early on when after introductions Franca purposefully brushed by Aurelio, causing the American Top Team fighter to have to be restrained by the referee.
“A lot of things went wrong in the last year, and in this fight I was pissed, I was angry,” admitted Franca.
“I just wanted to show that ‘I am here, let’s do it.’ I was blind, because when you’re angry and pissed, you do some stupid things, so I apologize to my fans (for that).”
Later in the fight Franca held his hands behind his back, practically begging Aurelio to engage.
“I was fighting in front of 15,000 people and I came to fight, brawl and he didn’t fight,” commented Franca about why he did the gesture.
“He was backing up, backing up, stepping back, stepping back, so at the end I was like ‘What’s going on? Hit me, man!’”
Back on track, Franca intends to take as little time off as possible. Following a week-long trek to the Middle East to show support for U.S. troops overseas, he plans on getting back to the business of fighting.
“I would like to fight as soon as possible,” he exclaimed. “I didn’t get hurt, I’m really healthy right now, and I can’t wait.
“I just want to take two weeks off, then I’m going to help Jeremy Stephens get ready to fight Rafael dos Anjos at the next UFC. So I’m busy right now, but I want to fight soon.”
Once again, Franca has managed to find order from chaos and put his career back on track. It’s only a matter of time to find out if he can sustain this momentum and once again work his way back to the top of the 155-pound weight class.
“I want to say thank you to Tapout, Premier Martial Arts and all my sponsors,” he concluded. “Also, really big thank yous to White Chocolate Management and Reed Wallace.
“It was great to be at the UFC, seeing all my fans and friends, thank you for your support, I appreciate it. I can’t stop right now – my warrior spirit is back again – I can’t wait to get in the Octagon again and kick ass.”