For those fairly new to the sport of MMA, Rich Franklin was the Anderson Silva of the UFC’s middleweight division before the “The Spider” ever sniffed the inside of an Octagon. While his resume should punch his ticket into the Hall of Fame, Franklin isn’t quite ready to call it a career just yet.
However, the 36-year-old does understand the inevitable is quickly coming around the corner. When that fateful day does arrive, Franklin claims he’ll already be long gone.
“Trust me, I’ve had these talks with my coaches,” Franklin told Sherdog. “I’ve seen some other fighters that have started to fade away a little bit as they’ve gotten older. I’ve said to my coaches and my friends and my training partners, ‘Hey, when you guys notice that I’m starting to lose a step, tell me because I would rather step out of this game before I ruin the end of a good career.’”
Franklin is coming off a knockout victory over Chuck Liddell at UFC 115 this past June. After handing Liddell his fifth loss in his last six outings, Franklin quickly realized he wanted to ensure his career ended on his own terms.
“Honestly, if my coaches had come to me before this fight and said, ‘Look, you’ve lost a step. You’re not competing at a top level anymore and this is not a smart fight for you to take and you should really seriously reconsider fighting,’ I would have to sit down and really think about that,” Franklin revealed.
“Jorge Gurgel, he’s one guy in my life that would just be brutally honest with me. He’s one guy that would look at me and be like, ‘Frank, you’re old and slow. Just stop.’”
However, none of the conversations have yet to take place. So save your farewells for another day.
“I don’t think it’s time for me to look back and start reminiscing yet,” he stated. “I still have a little bit of work to do.”
Franklin faces former light heavyweight champ Forrest Griffin, not Father Time, this Saturday at UFC 126.