After 16 years of being known as a professional fighter, former UFC middleweight champion Rich “Ace” Franklin is turning the page, officially retiring from the sport of mixed martial arts.
Franklin made the announcement Monday morning when writing his farewell on The Players Tribune.
At 40 years old, hasn’t actually competed inside the cage since 2012 — when he suffered a first-round knockout loss to Cung Le at UFC on Fuel TV 6. He’d traded wins and losses in the three years prior to bring his overall record to 29-7 as a pro.
He wrote Monday:
“I count my blessings when I consider the experiences God has given me. Very few people in this world get to do what they are passionate about. I studied education in college, and while I wanted to teach, it was still just a job. Training in mixed martial arts was my hobby. My father wanted to strangle me the day I told him I quit my career as a teacher to pursue fighting. This was at a time before MMA was mainstream and was described as ‘human cockfighting.’”
Based on his August interview with MMAjunkie Radio, Franklin still had one fight left on his UFC contract. At the time, he had every intention on fulfilling it.
Franklin leaves the sport as a competitor, but will remain as a figurehead. Currently serving as the vice president of ONE Championship, ex-teacher turned ex-figther says he looks to accomplish great things.