In the headlining fight for UFC: Macao in November, Rich Franklin was brutally knocked out by a counter right from Cung Le. The loss killed any momentum Franklin had built in winning a decision over Wanderlei Silva at UFC 147. Since then, "Ace" has been markedly quiet about what his next move would be.
Franklin broke his silence with an appearance on last week's episode of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. Before anything else, Rich wanted to assure his fans that he has no plans to retire just yet:
"I haven't been sitting on my end thinking about retirement," Franklin told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour Monday. "I don't want any of the fans out there to think, 'Oh, Rich is just out there contemplating retiring.'"
"The loss to Cung was a big setback for me. Unexpected in my camp," Franklin said. "I'm kind of sitting here thinking what's my next move going to be. And I realized I'm 38 years old and my time is limited in the sport. I know that I'm not going to be fighting another 10 years. I have to start think about the things that I'm doing outside of MMA.
In an interview with MMA Weekly, Franklin admitted that he knows another title run is beyond his grasp at this point. The 2-2.5 years he thinks it would take him to reach contendership is more than he can continue to fight. However, he wants to compete 1 or 2 more times for the UFC and he has someone in mind for his next bout:
I look at my Twitter and a lot of people talk about (Michael) Bisping. That would be an exciting fight and something the fans would want to see. I’m an exciting fighter, he’s an exciting fighter, and we both like to throw down.
From a rankings perspective, this fight makes almost no sense. Franklin is coming off a brutal loss to Le, who's never really made it close to the top of the heap at Middleweight. On the other hand, Bisping is ranked in the top 5 and coming off a win over borderline top Alan Belcher. However, Franklin has always been a "company man" and the UFC may see fit to grant him this boon. Regardless of the opponent, Rich is hoping to return to the Octagon before the end of the year.