Rich Franklin hasn't stepped foot inside the Octagon since getting knocked out by Cung Le at UFC on FUEL TV 6 back on Nov. 10, 2012.
The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion, however, still has one fight left on his contract and he plans on seeing it through. But first, "Ace" wants to make sure his organic juice bar, Ze/Lin, gets off and running to a smooth start.
After that, Rich plans on taking half a year to prepare himself for an Octagon return. Because as the former 185-pound champion told The Great MMA Debate podcast (via FOX Sports), he's going into his last mixed martial arts (MMA) fight with an intelligent approach.
"I need to get to a point where I can know I can fight. Even if I could walk away right now and say I can put my business on cruise control, I'd be looking at five or six months before I could fight. I would need some time to get back in the swing of things on a regular training regimen. The fight game is something that I know well and one thing I'm not going to do is rush the preparation. That's how I'll end up approaching my last fight with a really, really intelligent approach."
During his hiatus, Franklin hasn't been watching a lot of MMA fights. In fact, "Ace" says he doesn't enjoy being a spectator because it puts him in fight mode.
"It's different for me. Like I don't sit down on a Saturday night and watch the fights like a casual fan. I'm analyzing fighters. The worst part about watching fights for me, it puts me in the mental mindset as if I'm there fighting. I've really gotten to the point where I don't necessarily enjoy the fights as a spectator like I used to 15 years ago. I'll watch the occasional fight with my friends, but even then you'll see me sitting on the couch kind of bobbing and weaving as if I'm in the cage. It's a really weird feeling. I'll catch the highlights and read the headlines the next day."
Over his last eight bouts, Franklin has alternated wins and losses with his latest victory coming at the expense of Wanderlei Silva at UFC 147 in 2012, earning him a 2-0 record against "The Axe Murderer."
How about it Maniacs, who should Franklin battle against in what will likely be his final UFC fight once he is ready to return to action?