This weekend, Rich Franklin will make his 20th appearance inside the Octagon, facing Cung Le in Macau, China. This fight will headline UFC’s inaugural trip to China, co-headlined by the Light Heavyweight scrap between Thiago Silva and Stanislav Nedkov.
Franklin is now approaching his forties, but in a recent interview with MMAFighting.com, Franklin labelled himself as The Last of the Mohicans, claiming that he’s working his way up for another shot at the UFC Middleweight title. A lot has been said about Rich Franklin, and his status as one of the most respected figures in the UFC. To me personally, the fact that at his age, Franklin has worked hard to recover from a very serious shoulder injury to step back inside the cage is truly inspiring.
“Ace” is 29-6(1) in his MMA career, losing only to former or current (Anderson Silva) UFC/Pride champions. The teacher from Ohio is not going anywhere, just like four of the MMA legends below.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
After more than 13 years in pro MMA competition, it’s still too early for Big Nog to hang ’em up. Yes, he lost to every Top 5 Heavyweight in recent years, but I don’t think there’s someone who’d disagree that even today Minotauro is still a force to be reckoned with inside the Octagon. Thirty-six year old Brazilian is a mentor to some of the best fighters in the game, and has at least two more years of fighting ahead of him.
The Prodigy was very inconsistent in recent years, and well, he has technically retired from Mixed Martial Arts. However, a somewhat forced feud with Rory MacDonald re-ignited the fighting spirit in BJ Penn’s heart. I doubt that Penn will be a champion ever again, but he’s just thirty-three years old. At this age, it’s not too late for BJ Penn to reinvent himself as a fighter, with sights on another title run in the UFC Lightweight division. With the right motivation, Penn can fight for at least five more years.
Yes, Andrei Arlovski! Just like with BJ Penn, it seems as AA is fighting since the days of Royce Gracie and Art Jimmerson. Well, and just like BJ Penn, Arlovski is just thirty-three years old. I think “The Pitbull” has now found his “niche” by fighting for up and coming promotions such as ProElite and World Series of Fighting. He’s knocking out mismatched opponents, getting paid, and there’s absolutely nothing bad about it. Fighters like Arlovski do a great promotional service for young organizations such as WSOF by just being on the card. He’s putting his body on the line for promotion’s development, and as always, for the fans. I like Arlovski in this comeback stage he’s currently going through. Who knows, maybe we’ll see “The Pitbull” back in the UFC.
There’s no doubt about Quinton Jackson being one of the best Light Heavyweights in MMA history. Famous victories, memorable slam knockouts… you name it – been there, done that. Maybe now, it’s time for Jackson to ‘relax’, and enjoy his life as a fighter. His current motivation is to have exciting fights, and to earn a lot of money. I can see Rampage making appearances for WSOF and in Japan. Moreover, I think a promotion like Glory World Series could afford the services of modern-day B.A. Baracus, and present him with the right match-ups in both MMA and Kickboxing. One thing is true – it’s never boring with a fighter like Rampage Jackson.