Rich Franklin, a good-natured fighter

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Rich against Liddell. Photo: Josh Hedges

Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin beat another former champion in Chuck Liddell this Saturday at UFC 115. The first-round knockout moved the math teacher turned fighter a few steps up the list of challengers to the light heavyweight title now held by Mauricio Shogun. His good-natured ways and friendly face reminiscent of comedian Jim Carry fits the fighter’s personality. Our collaborator Nalty Jr had a chat with the beast that was recently published in Brazil’s NOCAUTE magazine. offers up a few excerpts from the conversation:

Do you feel it’s important to convey a good image of MMA athletes?

I feel it’s just important to be who you are. Be yourself in a positive way.

What brought you to take up MMA?

I’ve practiced martial arts ever since I was little. My dad put me in karate class when I was 12. I started MMA to keep in shape during college and fuel my competitiveness. After watching some MMA fights I realized a lot of fighters who were good at boxing and muay thai couldn’t manage to keep the fight standing. That’s when I started training Jiu-Jitsu.

You faced Lyoto Machida in Japan when he wasn’t too well known. Would you like revenge for the loss

I think about that fight a lot. Truth is, a lot of folks don’t even know I fought Lyoto. Revenge is a really strong word. Perhaps just a rematch, who knows?

Rich in his bout with Wanderlei Silva. Photos: Josh Hedges

And what about your win over Wanderlei Silva?

It was really great to beat a guy like Wand, a great fighter. The fans were talking about the matchup ever since the days of Pride, but we were in different organizations. Beating Wanderlei makes me feel like I accomplished my mission and did my work just right.

A fight lasts 15 or 25 minutes. Life is for forever” Rich Franklin

Is it harder to perform well in the ring or out of it?

To perform well in your personal life is much harder than to perform well in the octagon. A fight lasts 15 or 25 minutes. Life is for forever.

What’s the secret to becoming champion?

Hard work. You have to take what you do seriously. Otherwise, you won’t make it anywhere. You have to work on all the weapons you’ll need and not limit yourself to one style or another.

What do you have to say to those who criticize MMA?

Those folks haven’t a clue about what the sport’s about these days. They need to become better informed, educate themselves as to present day MMA.

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