Out of title contention, ex-UFC champ Rich Franklin will retire after one more fight

“I lost my last fight, and that really kind of solidified my decision to make this my last fight, coming up,” Franklin told hosts Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten. “I know that that took me out of title contention, and so for me to actually get back in the title hunt again would be a couple years’ worth of work.”

In his most recent outing, Franklin headlined UFC on FUEL TV 6 in the UFC’s debut in China in Macau. But he suffered a first-round knockout loss to Cung Le, a favorite of the Asian fans.

Franklin has alternated wins and losses for more than five years, unable to get a win streak going since a two-fight stretch in 2008 that featured TKO wins over Travis Lutter and Matt Hamill at UFC 83 and 88, respectively.

Prior to the loss to Le, Franklin beat Wanderlei Silva in a five-round unanimous decision at UFC 147 in Brazil, giving him two wins over the Brazilian legend.

Franklin won the UFC’s middleweight title at UFC 53 against Evan Tanner and defended it with wins over Nate Quarry and David Loiseau. But he lost it at UFC 64 against Anderson Silva, who then went on a record-setting run that only was ended earlier this year by Chris Weidman. Franklin also lost a rematch to Silva at UFC 77.

One of the most remarkable things about Franklin’s career record is that of his seven losses, all have come against champions, eventual champions or former champions in the UFC, PRIDE or Strikeforce – Lyoto Machida, Anderson Silva, Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, Forrest Griffin and Le.

But Franklin said age is playing a factor in his decision, as well.

“I’m 39. I’ll be 40 next year, and it’s getting to the point where it’s late in my (MMA) life, and it’s really too late to make that title run,” he said. “So I started questioning, like, what am I really fighting for if I can’t make it to the title anymore? I know I’m not in title contention anymore, and I realize that. That’s how it is.”

Franklin said he’s open to who his final opponent will wind up being. But the way things have been going for him since beating Hamill in September 2008, it’s been all some of the biggest names in the sport’s history – Henderson, Wanderlei Silva, Belfort, Chuck Liddell, Griffin and Le.

And it sounds like that’s not lost on “Ace.”

“Somebody that makes sense, obviously,” he said.