Long before ONE Championship scooped up the likes of Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez, CEO Chatri Sityodtong poached former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion, Rich Franklin, and appointed him Vice President of ... something important, I’m sure.
That was back in 2014 when Franklin was still 39 years old, which of course led to speculation that “Ace” might one day return to the cage for the Singapore-based mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion. Perhaps all he needed was the right opponent.
Like Vitor Belfort, who joined the ONE family last March.
“The more I entertain this conversation, the more it’s going to start a whole bunch of chatter,” Franklin told MMA Fighting about his “improbable” comeback. “But everybody has talked about that with me being an executive with ONE and (Belfort) being a fighter now in the organization. If the stars align, anything is possible.”
Franklin (29-7, 1 NC) went down in flames in his catchweight bout against “The Phenom” in the UFC 103 pay-per-view (PPV) main event nearly a decade ago in what marked Belfort’s return to the Octagon after several years on the International fight scene.
Belfort (26-14, 1 NC) seems to be more interested in a mixed-rules bout against aging pugilist Roy Jones Jr. and let’s face it, Franklin is not the sort of name to generate much fan interest at this stage of his combat sports career.