Former middleweight world champion Rich Franklin walked away from active competition in 2012 after a storied career that saw him face some of the sport's biggest names including Anderson Silva, Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort, and Chuck Liddel.
Despite not competing for the last decade, Franklin has stayed active in the world of MMA as the Vice President of ONE Championship.
Serving as the face of the promotion, Franklin travels throughout the U.S. and Asia hosting seminars, speaking engagements, promoting fights, and working with ONE Championship fighters directly.
Though the former world champion has settled into his role as an executive, he admitted in an interview with former UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen that he still has the desire to compete:
“I look at old videos of myself and I’ll be watching TV, it feels like I’m watching somebody else. It was a different lifetime, and sometimes I scratch my head like ‘Why do people do this?’ Make no mistake about it, under the right circumstances I would probably be like ‘Yeah I got a couple more left in the tank.’”
While Franklin didn’t go into the details of what the “right circumstances” entail, the fact that ‘Ace’ is even considering a potential return to competition is enough to get long-term MMA fans excited.
Check out Franklin's sit-down interview with Sonnen below:
Rich Franklin on the transition from fighter to executive
Roughly two years after following last fight, Rich Franklin signed on as the Vice President for ONE Championship. Helping the organization grow into the global behemoth that it has become has been a rewarding experience for Frankin, but ‘Ace’ admitted that initially, it was difficult to feel like an executive rather than a fighter every time he walked into an arena.
“You know the transition from fighter to executive was weird. I don’t know about you but when I first started working for ONE it took me probably a year and a half of going into the arena and not feeling I was there for a fight.”
Speaking to Sonnen, Rich Franklin continued by saying:
“I’m sitting there the whole time, my stomach, everything was going. I hated the feeling, it took me a while and then I finally got to the point that [I said] ‘I’m not on tonight. I’m just here to enjoy and watch.’”