The return of an MMA legend?
Watch the interview below:
The UFC Hall of Famer is 46 years old and hasn’t fought since 2012, but as of lately, there has been a surge of retired fighters returning or extending their careers in some capacity. For example, Franklin’s two-time opponent Anderson Silva, who is also 46, is set to box Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on June 19, 2021.
Boxing icons Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. also had an exhibition match in November 2020.
Although Franklin has a full plate as an executive for ONE Championship, as well as being the CEO of ONE Warrior Series, he didn’t completely shut down the idea of fighting again.
“Listen, you never lose your first love, right?” Franklin answered. “I didn’t get into the industry of MMA to be a businessman initially. I was here to be an athlete. So you never lose that love.
“Is there a possibility for something like that? I would say [it’s] possible, not probable, but possible. If I was tempted with the right decimal place and the right opponent or something like that, yeah, you know, I keep myself in really good shape. I’m not in fight shape right now, don’t get me wrong.”
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Franklin Would Ensure He Was in Top Fighting Shape Should He Decide to Compete Again
Franklin told Heavy that if he did want to compete, he would utilize an extended camp to prepare his body for fighting.
“I mean, I still train and whatnot,” Ace continued. “And if you see any of the stuff I put out on my socials, you can tell that I’m in good shape. And sometimes when I go to the gym, especially when I’ve been gone from Ohio for a while, my training partner is like, ‘Hey, what’s going on, buddy, ’cause like, you’re in way too good shape for this, like, you’re still dancing circles and whatnot.'”
Ace Is Confident That He Could Fight Like He Hasn’t ‘Lost a Step’
Franklin said that if he took a suitable amount of time to prepare for a fight, he’d return looking like he hasn’t missed a beat.
“I believe that I could come out even at this age and compete and not look like I lost a step,” he said. “But it would take me some time to get there.”
Franklin said he would never want to return to fighting in “subpar” shape, so if the day ever came when the stars aligned and Ace took a fight, he’d put the work in.
Franklin continued, “Every time you see that stuff (retired fighters making competing again) you’re like, ‘Hmm, might be fun. Who knows?”
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Franklin Is a 3-Time UFC Champion
With a professional MMA record of 29-7 and one no-contest, Franklin is one of the greatest fighters of his generation. He won the UFC middleweight title in 2005 and defended it twice, earning one of the most exciting knockouts in the promotion’s history.
Re-live Ace’s finish of Nate Quarry below: