Rich Franklin retired? 'Ace' targets next fight for end of 2013, focused on business venture now

Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

What retirement? Former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin says despite his knockout loss to Cung Le, he isn't planning on hanging up his 5-pounce gloves anytime soon, but business ventures are top priority at the moment.

Once the king of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight division, Rich Franklin, 38, isn't quite ready to call it a mixed martial arts (MMA) career.

Even though "Ace" acknowledges his "time is limited" in the grueling sport, he isn't ready to throw in the towel on his 14-year career despite getting knocked out cold by Cung Le in round one UFC on Fuel TV 6 in Macao, China, back in Nov. 2012.

Franklin, however, does have other interests occupying his time at the moment, including an organic juice business he plans to open in Los Angeles, Calif., which will support his lifestyle once his paychecks from fighting stop rolling in.

Appearing on "The MMA Hour," Franklin detailed his future fight plans:

"I'd have to check my contract. I have at least one more fight, possibly two more fights left on my contract. I always said I would definitely fulfill my contract, so, looking at that, I at least have that much. I'm not saying I'm only planning on fighting once or twice more, but, as soon as I get this stuff going on my end with this juice business and things are kind of moving in the direction that they should be moving, then I am going to be focused more on, instead of recreationally training, back on specific fight training. Then I'll look at taking another fight at that point in time which could possibly be toward the end of the year."

Before current 185-pound kingpin Anderson Silva rolled into the Octagon and took his title, "Ace" was sitting pretty at the top pf the middleweight mountain and enjoying his spot as one of the faces of the promotion. After dropping two championship fights to "The Spider," Franklin has been unable to climb his way back into the title picture, losing high profile fights to Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort and Forrest Griffin.

Moving up and down in weight class and partaking in catchweight bouts hasn't helped his cause, either.

Nevertheless, as Franklin looks to secure his finances after MMA, he's still planning on seeing his current contract through to the end ... and perhaps even further. He also revealed that when he does return, Franklin will stick with the middleweight division, but is open to "super fights," too.

And as the years creep up on the 37-fight veteran, he is determined to not hang around to the point that he'll have to undergo testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) -- something he's kicked around before -- to keep up with the younger generation of fighters.

For Franklin, "tarnishing" his image and dealing with all the backlash that comes with the controversial treatment just isn't worth it.

Anyone care to throw out any potential opponents for Franklin once he returns to action?

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