Rich Franklin: I’m the last of the Mohicans | UFC NEWS
Rich Franklin headlined the first live television event in the United States, and also headlined the company’s first shows in places like Ireland, Northern Ireland, Germany and Western Canada. He faces the sport’s most unorthodox stand-up specialist, Cung Le, in the main event at the Cotai Arena at the Venetian Resort in Macau.
Likely to be the oldest combined age fight in the UFC this year, with Franklin at 38 and Le being 40. Franklin started with UFC in 2004 and won the middleweight title the next year and beat Ken Shamrock in the UFC’s live television debut on April 9, 2005, on Spike TV. It was the main event that followed the legendary Stephan Bonnar vs. Forrest Griffin. At the time, fighters like Bonnar, Kenny Florian and Nate Quarry were newcomers trying to break into UFC on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. Franklin was a veteran title contender, who coached on the second season. Now Bonnar, Florian and Quarry are all retired.
“Yeah, I realize I’m on borrowed time at this point,” said Franklin. “I’m 38 years old. I remember when I started being asked these questions about a year-and-a-half ago. It really hits you hard at first, but I’m used to it now. I never thought about it with Bonnar retiring. I didn’t look at it like that. But Matt Hughes, Chuck Liddell, Randy and I were the people who were part of the UFC before it exploded and they’re now all gone. I’m the last of the Mohicans.”
“I would have never predicted this,” he said. “I was teaching high school in 2002. I quit my job and was teaching part-time until three weeks before my title fight (in 2005 when he beat Evan Tanner to become UFC middleweight champion). I was still teaching in the at-risk program when I decided to quit my job. I never thought it would end up like this. I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll do this for a few years, it’ll be cool, and then I’ll go back to teaching.’ That’s how things would have been had UFC stayed where it was. I’ve been with the company almost ten years, the same time the sport has exploded. I was on the main card for the Ultimate Fighter 1 final, fought Ken Shamrock, then got the title fight, and the sport blew up.”
Franklin has never lost a middleweight fight to anyone but Anderson Silva, the best of all-time in that weight class.
“Possibly, but maybe it’s fortunate I ran into him in my career,” he said looking back, noting the move back to 185 is with the goal of getting one last title shot. “If you’re going to lose, it might as well be to that guy. It’s just amazing the stuff he does in the Octagon. He fought Stephan Bonnar and he slipped the spinning back kick like something in the Matrix. I’m sure he’s a better fighter than when I fought him. I think I’m better as well. He’s more experienced. I’m more experienced. Beating a guy like Anderson is going to be a tough thing no matter who you are. But when you have a champions mentality, you knock me down and I’ll get back up. Knock me down twice and I’ll get up again. Eventually I’m going to find your number. I believe with another shot I can win that fight.”
UFC on Fuel TV: Franklin vs. Le will be on November 10, 2012 at the Cotai Arena in Cotai Strip, Macau. It will be the first ever UFC event held in China.