It’s been over a year since former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin stepped foot in the Octagon, and while he still has one fight left on his contract and wants to compete for a final time before retiring, he’s not focused on that goal right now.
Franklin is currently working on his new juice business, which opened last year in Beverly Hills, and fighting is just about the furthest thing from his mind.
The former 185-pound champion is actually in a very weird headspace when it comes to fighting because he knows his time inside the Octagon is almost at its end, but even still to this day he can’t sit down and relax to watch a fight because he feels like he’s in the cage battling alongside the other competitors.
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As a matter of fact, Franklin hardly ever turns on the UFC when it shows on TV just because he can’t sit and relax to watch as a regular fan just enjoying the combat between two fighters.
"It’s different for me. Like I don’t sit down on a Saturday night and watch the fights like a casual fan. I’m analyzing fighters. The worst part about watching fights for me, it puts me in the mental mindset as if I’m there fighting. I’ve really gotten to the point where I don’t necessarily enjoy the fights as a spectator like I used to 15 years ago," Franklin told The Great MMA Debate podcast.
I’ve really gotten to the point where I don’t necessarily enjoy the fights as a spectator like I used to 15 years ago.
- Rich Franklin
"I’ll watch the occasional fight with my friends, but even then you’ll see me sitting on the couch kind of bobbing and weaving as if I’m in the cage. It’s a really weird feeling."
It’s much more likely that the Sunday following a big fight card, Franklin is online watching highlights and reading the news about what happened as opposed to sitting down and witnessing everything unfold live.
"I’ll catch the highlights and read the headlines the next day," Franklin said.
It’s the way it has to be for Franklin right now because while he still plans on getting in one more fight before calling it a career, he’s not ready to set a time table for that to happen and until then he just has to be a casual observer on the sidelines far away from MMA. Once he’s ready to return, he’ll call UFC president Dana White and ask for his final fight, but until then he’s a business owner that was once a UFC champion.
"I need to get to a point where I can know I can fight. Even if I could walk away right now and say I can put my business on cruise control, I’d be look at five or six months before I could fight. I would need some time to get back in the swing of things on a regular training regimen," Franklin said.
"The fight game is something that I know well and one thing I’m not going to do is rush the preparation. That’s how I’ll end up approaching my last fight with a really, really intelligent approach."
Also on the show, Tyron Woodley reveals that he believes with a win over Carlos Condit at UFC 171 he will be fighting for the welterweight title against the victor between Robbie Lawler and Johny Hendricks.
Dana said it himself, this is a No. 1 contender’s bout.
- Tyron Woodley
"Dana said it himself this is a No. 1 contender’s bout," Woodley stated. "The winner of this fight is the No. 1 contender, and the No. 1 contender will be fighting the winner of the main event. I want to realize that dream of being a world champion."
Check out the entire interviews with both Franklin and Woodley as well as a complete breakdown of everything that happened at UFC 169 as we debate the fights between Renan Barao and Urijah Faber as well as Jose Aldo’s standing after his latest win.