Wanderlei Silva vs. Rich Franklin: How Long Can Franklin Fight at a High Level?
I'm not normally one to put out a perfectly hot flame, but this time I just might have to.
Following five brutal rounds of action-packed excitement, Rich "Ace" Franklin saw his hand raised for the first time since his knockout victory over Chuck Liddell at UFC 115 over two years ago.
It appeared that Franklin was back and better than ever as he was able to pick apart the over-the-hill Wanderlei Silva by winning four of the five required rounds. But, just how impressive was Franklin's unanimous decision victory at UFC 147?
It was nothing to shake a stick at.
As we begin to break down Franklin's recent track record, we'll discover two things:
First, Franklin has fought just three times since 2010. In 2010, he defeated Liddell via knockout. In 2011, he fell short to the quickly forgotten Forrest Griffin by decision.
Second, he hasn't defeated a legitimate opponent since UFC 88, where he finished a rising star in Matt Hamill via TKO.
One thing's for sure: Franklin isn't getting any younger. At 37 years of age, Franklin is quickly becoming a fighter recognized by old age and minimal excitement.
At one point in his career, "Ace" was considered one of the world's most dangerous middleweights. Now, he's fighting the clock that is quickly approaching the end of his career.
Despite a feel-good win over Silva, Franklin is no longer the same fighter who was able to win 22 of his first 24 professional fights. In fact, Franklin is no longer able to fight at an extremely high level.
He won't ever be able to beat fighters like Anderson Silva, Chael Sonnen or even Mark Munoz.
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