Last evening we witnessed Rich "Ace" Franklin return to winning fashion in his unanimous decision victory over Wanderlei Silva at UFC 147 in Brazil.
But now that Franklin captured his first win since UFC 115, the real questions start to flood in. What does this win mean for Franklin's career? Is he back? Is he a legitimate contender for the middleweight belt? All of these questions are valid as Franklin has proven time and time again that he is in fact, an all-time great.
However, as the years go by, we rarely see Franklin, who's fought just three times in the last three years. Like many aging stars, the injury plague has haunted Franklin, causing him time away from the Octagon.
But, if last evening's win over Silva proved anything, it proved Franklin still has a lot left in the tank, right?
In fact, Franklin's time away from the Octagon has greatly affected his placement in the middleweight rankings, along with his caliber of opponent. In order to keep his reputable name alive, the UFC has matched Franklin with fading stars in Silva, Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin, who hasn't taken the center stage in nearly a year.
Franklin's skill set and will to succeed still allows him to hang with "the best of the the best." But, that doesn't necessarily mean defeat "the best of the best." There's no denying that if Franklin wants to hang around for a few more years, he can.
The UFC loves him, and so do the fans and members of the media. However, no one should expect Franklin to return to championship fashion.
Franklin's best days are long gone and they aren't coming back.
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