Five Fights for Rich Franklin to Take Next

Steven MuehlhausenContributor IIINovember 10, 2012

Five Fights for Rich Franklin to Take Next

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    Could it be the end of the road for Rich Franklin? The former math teacher turned fighter suffered a devastating knockout loss to Cung Le 2:17 into the first round earlier today at UFC on Fuel TV 6.

    Speculation has been running rampant on social media on what is next for the man called "Ace." There are plenty of intriguing fights still out there for Franklin.

    Let's take a look and see what could be next for Franklin.

5) Michael Bisping

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    People are looking and probably thinking, "Michael Bisping, you are crazy. Bisping is facing Vitor Belfort at UFC on FX 7 on January 19."

    That fight is happening, but Bisping and Franklin have both recently stated to a desire to face each other in the future.

    If Bisping does lose to Belfort, the fight makes a lot of sense because both guys have a tremendous amount of respect for one another.

    Naturally if Bisping beats Belfort, the fight doesn't happen, as Bisping will have a fight against middleweight champion Anderson Silva or face the winner of Chris Weidman and Tim Boetsch.

    It would be a fun fight between two of the most recognizable stars of the UFC.

4) Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

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    Yes, I know this is another guy who has a fight coming up. The UFC announced recently that Nogueira will be facing former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans at UFC 156 on February 2.

    Nogueira and Franklin, though, have some history with each other. They were supposed to square off last year at UFC 133, but Nogueira had to bow out of the fight due to a shoulder injury. Then earlier this year, Nogueira had wanted to fight Franklin in Brazil at UFC 147, but the UFC scheduled a fight between Franklin and Cung Le for UFC 148.

    Vitor Belfort ended up getting injured and didn't fight Wanderlei Silva at 147, so the UFC shifted Franklin to that card.

    Nogueira doesn't fight until February and Franklin stated after his fight today he is going to take some time off, so by the time Franklin is ready to go, Nogueira will be waiting for his next fight.

3) Tim Kennedy

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    This fight will probably not happen, but if it does, it is a very marketable fight.

    With the rumors of the January 12 Strikeforce event being the last show, we will likely see all Strikeforce fighters under contract transferred over to the UFC.

    Kennedy, as of right now, isn't scheduled to fight on that card, so his next fight will likely be inside the octagon. What better way to make his debut than to face off against Franklin?

    You would have Kennedy, who is still enlisted in the United States Army, and in the case of Franklin, you have the former math teacher turned fighter. You cannot hate a teacher and someone who is in the army.

    Neither guy is near title contention at 185 with Kennedy recently losing to Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold in July and Franklin's defeat to Cung Le today. Both guys will be in need of a fight once it is announced that Strikeforce is folding with the Strikeforce fighters heading to the UFC.

    They both like to keep the fight standing, which is something fans all around the world like to see.

2) Rampage Jackson

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    The picture above is a happier Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. We haven't seen that from Jackson lately. The former UFC light heavyweight champion has been unhappy lately. Rampage feels that he's underpaid by the organization, he wasn't happy that he faced Ryan Bader at UFC 144 because Bader is a wrestler and he wants to face guys who will not put on boring fights.

    Rampage, who has one more fight on his UFC contract, will fulfill that fight coming up against Glover Teixeira at UFC on Fox 6, which takes place on January 26 from the United Center in Chicago. Jackson states that after this fight, he will be looking to fight elsewhere.

    A lot of people feel Jackson is bluffing and that no organization can the offer the type of money he is looking for and will return to the UFC.

    Franklin is a former world champion and has a style that Jackson wants to fight. The fight would be on the top of the card and a lot of money can be made if the fight happens.

1) Retirement

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    No athlete ever wants to hear or think about the word retirement. When you've been on top of the mountain and achieved the highest honors, it is hard to come to that realization.

    Franklin is a former UFC middleweight champion and is one of the guys who helped put the UFC on the map. He is the company man in every sense, taking fights on short notice on numerous occasions.

    A lot of people thought he would retire after a brutal knockout loss to Vitor Belfort at UFC 103 in September 2009. Franklin continued though as he compiled 2-1 record before the fight with Le.

    Watching Franklin getting knocked out today by Le, falling face first then convulsing on the mat, is something you never want to see.

    A person can only get knocked out so many times like that. One time is more than enough. Hopefully Franklin does hang it up. He has nothing else to prove.

    You can follow me on Twitter @fightclubchi.