Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin announced his retirement from mixed martial arts today.

Here is an excerpt of Franklin discussing his retirement with The Players Tribune.

I was fortunate enough to begin my career in the UFC when MMA was on the precipice of popularity in the U.S. We spent endless hours traveling to do PR and conduct interviews preaching the gospel of MMA. One by one, we watched state athletic commissions legalize MMA, and we began the process in other countries. It came in handy having a former high school math teacher as one of your champions. I had the privilege of fighting in eight different countries.

As a teacher, I always told my students, “Pursue your dreams.” Most people believe a dream is just that — something intangible. They would rather take the safe route than put the work and risk into what is believed to be unattainable.

I was joking with my mom a few weeks ago pretending that I was negotiating a final fight. I found out the next day she had not slept a wink that night.

“We’ve had our battles and done our duty,” she said.

I thought it was interesting how she used words like “our.” I have learned that my friends, family, coaches, training partners and even my fans shared the joy of my victories. It was as if they stepped into the cage with me for every fight. However, they also suffered the disappointment of my losses.

So what will I miss the most from this journey? I can close my eyes and picture myself pacing the hallway before I walk out to the arena. I can hear the crowd cheering for me when For Those About To Rock begins. Then I make my way to the cage.

Many years ago, I was just a guy chasing his dream. Today, I stand here humbled and appreciative of where that pursuit took me. God bless!

Franklin was 2-3 in his last five bouts and made his final UFC appearance on November 10th of 2012 when he was knocked out by Cung Lee in the first round.

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Since the loss, Franklin has been on a hiatus from fighting. Prior to his retirement, Franklin had one fight left on his contract.

As far as the future goes for Franklin, it appears obvious.

In April 2014, Rich signed on as a Vice President in the ONE Championship organization, which is a Singapore-based MMA promotion that was officially launched on 14 July 2011.

From all of us at Low Kick MMA, we just have three words, thank you Rich!

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