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Rich Franklin to Retire?

I wouldn't bet on it and neither would Franklin's manager. To wit:

"Rich still has a lot left to accomplish in this sport," said J.T. Stewart, Franklin's publicity manager. "It's too early for him to even consider retirement at this point."

Again, I think Rich needs to take some time away from the sport and specialize his talents. His best chance of improving any single aspect of his game such that it becomes his bread and butter would be his stand-up, but his wrestling could use some work as well.

I also don't understand this talk of Franklin having no place left to go in the sport. Nogueira had the benefit of leaving PRIDE for the UFC once Fedor bested him three times, but I think something similar can happen for Franklin should he take time off. A lot can happen in a year and while I wouldn't want to see for the former champion gone that long, perhaps that's exactly the time he needs to start his career over again.

And let's think about it: who else can Franklin fight? Here are a few matches I'd love to see (feel free to include your own in the comments section):

Rich Franklin vs...

Phil Baroni
Ryo Chonan
Matt Lindland
Dan Henderson
Frank Trigg
Robbie Lawler
Trevor Prangley
Maurilo Ninja Rua
Kazuo Misaki
Joe Doerksen
Paulo Filho
Jason "Mayhem" Miller
Dean Lister
Nate Marquardt
Gerard Mousasi
Frank Shamrock
Chris Leben

Not all of these would be main event fights, but each would be entertaining in their own right. I also realize a fair amount of these fights would probably have to take place outside of the UFC given the current contractual landscape. That being said, perhaps the UFC could use this opportunity to bring in more talent for the existing middleweight fighters to battle. In other words, use the fact that Rich Franklin - a championship caliber fighter who's at a bit of a dead end at the moment - needs a fresh set of opponents to fight in order to build a division. It's almost as if the UFC could build a division around their former champ than the current.

Your thoughts are appreciated.

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