Earlier this month, in an interview with MMAJunkie Radio, former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin suggested he might consider ending his retirement if the right bout was offered to him. On the latest episode of BJ Penn Radio, Franklin elaborated on these comments, explaining that while they were blown a little out of proportion, he could be coaxed back into the fold if he found a potential matchup exciting enough.
“I’ve not given that a lot of thought,” he said of a possible comeback. “I was asked in an interview if the door was 100% shut. This is a self-defeating statement, but I try to be a never say never kind of guy. And so, the exact statement I made was ‘a return is not probable but it is possible.’ I could be enticed with the right opponent. I don’t know who that would be, I would have to sit down and think about who’s active and who would make sense and all that.”
While Franklin, who now serves as an executive for Singapore’s One Championship, would be willing make a comeback, he’s not interested in the so-called “legends league” that’s recently been proposed by Vitor Belfort.
“There’s been talk of a legends league and stuff like that,” he said. “I always tell people ‘once you’ve climbed Mt. Everest, you would never return and be like ‘well I’m just going to hike up to basecamp one more time.’ It just doesn’t work that way. Once you’ve been to the top of the mountain, you don’t just stop mid-way and turn around. That’s to me how the legend’s league would feel. So I would never be interested in something like that. But if I was enticed properly with the right matchup, I could see myself being talked out of retirement for a match or something like that.”
Franklin would be physically capable of taking a crack at a comeback too, as he still trains hard every day.
“If you see on social media, you’ll see that I always train,” he said. “Old habits die hard, man. This has been my life for the last 20 years, even before I started competing in the UFC. So just because you retire from a sport doesn’t mean you don’t still love and have a passion for martial arts.”
Finally, Franklin weighed in on whether a potential return would occur in One Championship or the UFC.
“I haven’t got that far in the thought process,” he said. “I technically retired from active competition with one bout left on my contract, so I don’t know legally what kind of ramifications there would be there. I would imagine that with all the free agency going on and people kind of scooting around from one place to the next, it shouldn’t be a problem with me being retired for the last couple of years anyway. I don’t know.”
Rich Franklin announced his retirement from MMA in 2015. His overall record stands at 29-7.
Would you be interested in seeing Rich Franklin compete one last time?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/13/2017.