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Friday, 05/10/2013, 10:55 am

EXCLUSIVE | Rich Franklin is Back! Well maybe…

Recently former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich “Ace” Franklin resurfaced after taking some time off from fighting. In an interview with another site he made a few comments about fellow UFC middleweight Michael Bisping, and fans were speculating about if, and when, this fight may take place. Rich found himself bombarded with questions shortly after that interview.

“A single interview put me in the spotlight”, Franklin said. “Make a comment about Michael Bisping that the writer takes out of context, and here we are in a media frenzy”.

Rich found himself explaining himself more than once.

“All I said about Bisping is that the fans on twitter talk about a fight between the two of us often”, Rich said. “He is an exciting fighter and so am I, so I am sure it would make for an entertaining fight. Any of the fighters below would make exciting fights as well…its not about calling anyone out”.

Truthfully, if the fight were offered today Franklin is a bit distracted with some of his personal projects.

“I am doing the ground work for my retail organic juice company Zelin in LA”, Franklin said. “I need to make sure this is finished before I am truly ready to commit to fight training”.

After that the path is wide open for Rich to move forward in any way he chooses. If a long term contract was presented, even with substantial money involved, Franklin made his intentions clear.

“There is no reason for me to sign a long term contract with the UFC”, Rich said bluntly. “I’m 38 years old, and I have no intentions to be fighting in my 40’s. I will finish out my current contract with the 1 or 2 fights I have left. I have the freedom to choose when I want to fight, but I always hinge my choice of who to fight on the fans or the UFC”.

When Chuck Liddell announced his retirement he stated he might come back for another run at the title. Franklin realistically has the skills and gas in the tank to make one more trek towards regaining the Middleweight Championship. According to the former champion it is not likely to happen.

“Not making another run is about the longevity I want to devote to the sport”, Rich said. “My body is in good shape for an athlete with a 15-ish year career, but if I fight for another 2 years, I will run myself into the ground. At this age, I can feel the fight camps taking a toll on me and I don’t want to be broken down when I leave this sport. It is a sacrifice I am willing to make to walk away”.

A lot has changed in terms of MMA in general. The way media is attracted to UFC fighters, how the athletes are treated, and the quality of training overall. Franklin can’t seem to recall anything fighters have access to now that stood out to him as better than it was. Rich has always been a grounded person and things have always been in perspective.

“Nothing stands out really”, Rich said. “I got into this sport for the love of the sport. I remember the first time I fought with a camera in my face when I was walking out. I suddenly realized it was not just about fighting anymore. All that BS is just a distraction from your true passion. When I think about retiring, I think about being able to go to the gym for the love of training and not the pressure of preparing for a fight, media, Facebook, Twitter, etc…just like it was when I started. Now that’s a good thought”.

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