Wednesday, November 14, 2012

ROUNDTABLE: After his KO loss to Cung Le at UFC on Fuel 6, where does Rich Franklin go from here?


After his KO loss to Cung Le, where does Rich Franklin go from here?


I hope Rich Franklin retires. Who wants to see stars diminish themselves? Unless it's Brett Favre getting his career ended by Corey Wooton (which I watch on a weekly basis, if not more frequently), certainly not me. I don't want to see him play out the string against the Ed Herman's of the world. I don't need to see the next young punk call him out, angling for an easy win over a big name, ala Josh Koscheck eschewing competition for a perceived easy fight with Matt Hughes. I don't need to see him become the next punching bag chasing a dream that's never going to be realized. There isn't one fight I'm interested in seeing Franklin take, and hopefully he'll appreciate everything else he has earned from his career and get out of the cage in order to accept the title of UFC Vice President of Things Chuck Doesn't Want to Do.


He will simply continue to do what he's done for the last four years or so; and that is to continue being a highly regarded former UFC champion who's now sadly past his best. He'll keep being matched up with others who are big enough names, but not thought of as current or future contenders in the middleweight division. Franklin is a real ambassador for the sport; highly educated and well liked by everyone. I'd like to see him in one or two more fights and then retire, before his career really heads south, if it hasn't already.

If he is willing to fight again then I'd match him up with Jake Shields next when his suspension runs out. Either that or he becomes a solid bounce back opponent for the loser of one of the high profile upcoming middleweight match ups like Palhares vs. Lombard or Belcher vs. Okami. Once he's finished fighting, Zuffa should utilize the experience and qualities of Franklin and give him a job for life.


Rich Franklin needs to decide first if he's a middleweight or a light heavyweight, from there he needs to decide if his time in the cage is up. That was a particularly nasty knockout and Franklin was actually off to a good start prior. He has some fight left in him, maybe a rematch with Wanderlei Silva is due next, both men need a big win right now.


He should, without a doubt, retire. Since 2006, Rich has been knocked out by Cung Le, Vitor Belfort, and twice by Anderson Silva. The knock out by Le was extremely vicious. Franklin is never going to make a title run, so he should hang it up. The fighter in Rich will likely mimic Chuck Liddell, who after being knocked out too many times fought again. Happy to oblige, the UFC made huge money promoting his fights. But, what is left for Rich, the man, to prove? He has had a hall of fame career and made millions of dollars doing it. He is 38, still articulate, and extremely likeable. He could easily transition into any number of commentating jobs. I would love to see him do that or become a coach. He could easily open gyms across the country or the world.


Rich Franklin was brutally stopped by a guy he was supposed to breeze through. This is almost always the first sign that a veteran fighter can no longer take a punch. I think it would be nice to see Franklin get out ahead of that and retire before the whole world is calls for him to hang up the gloves.

Considering he was the guy that finally retired Chuck Liddell, it would be particularly unfortunate if Rich Franklin decided he need to go out on the same sort of farewell tour as the "Iceman."

[Rich Franklin art by Cory Gould (c)]

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