Rich Franklin hasn't been seen in the Octagon since his loss at the hands of Cung Le at UFC on Fuel 6 in Nov. 2012. The 38-year-old mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran, who has compiled an impressive professional record (29-7) throughout his career, has averaged about one fight per year since 2009.
However, "Ace" has yet to schedule a bout for 2013.
And this is by design -- Franklin has remained busy outside the cage since his last Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) appearance, getting his ducks in a row for life after his official retirement from the sport.
The former Middleweight champion recently spoke BJPenn.com, detailing his extracurricular endeavors and what his dwindling combat sports future might hold.
He starts in with his juice business:
"Nutrition has always been a passion of mine, I have been laying the groundwork for an organic juice bar, Ze/Lin, to open this fall in LA. My first location will be in Beverly Hills. I’m excited and even busier. I’m always training, but not prepping for a fight currently."
Franklin has competed against many of the biggest names on the roster, including Anderson Silva, Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva, among others. He has had inconsistent success, splitting (4-4) his last eight matches since Sept. 2008.
He has one fight remaining on his current UFC contract and he has always remained steadfast in regard to satisfying his obligation with the company. And he still plans to do so ... and perhaps even a little more.
Franklin with the update:
"Initially, my projections were to have a fight before the end of the year. We will see what difficulties this juice business will bring to derail that time frame. I have 1 fight remaining on my contract. I will not make another title run. I may fight that plus one more, I really don’t know."
If Franklin's run does come to an end within the next 12 months, which seems like a very real possibility, it will conclude a fantastic tenure with the company. And to do it on his terms sooner than later without overstaying his welcome, would be an appropriate and dignified exit for the consummate professional.
When he does finally do so, Ze/Lin will be there waiting for him. And, most likely, a UFC Hall of Fame induction ceremony.