Exclusive Interview with UFC Fighter Rich Franklin Courtesy of Evolve MMA

Sports WriterCorrespondent IMay 15, 2011

This interview appears courtesy of Evolve Mixed Martial Arts:

One of UFC's biggest stars, Rich "Ace" Franklin recently came to Evolve MMA in Singapore to train with the Evolve Fight Team, Asia's most decorated professional fight team with world champions in Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, mixed martial arts, boxing and No Gi Grappling.

A former UFC Middleweight world champion, Rich Franklin has been one of the top stars of the UFC for the last decade. He has thrown down in the cage with some of the best MMA fighters on the planet including Chuck LiddellDan HendersonWanderlei SilvaVitor BelfortForrest Griffin, andAnderson Silva to name a few. 

What brought you to Singapore?

Rich Franklin: My coach, Matt Hume, and Chatri discussed the opportunity for us to come over here to Singapore.

I had never been to Singapore...It's been a great experience...to exchange knowledge. I consider myself a martial artist...always looking for ways to add things to my game...we worked a lot with the professional fighters here to help them on the MMA aspect of things and we also learned from the World Champions here.

I get asked to do seminars all the time, but my schedule is super busy with fights, movies, and other projects. So I have to pick and choose the right opportunities...Evolve MMA has been an amazing experience. In many ways.

It's been an eye-opening one...I've been all over the world to a lot of MMA gyms...and I can say...I can tell you that Evolve MMA is the best that I've seen...the unbelievable training with all the world champs, the facilities...I plan on coming back, man!

Who is your next fight in the UFC?

Nothing's been signed yet, but it looks like it will be Little Nog (Antonio Rogerio Nogueira) at UFC 133 in August. Stylistically, it's a good match up for me. I'll be heading into training camp in a few weeks...

You've had an amazing career. Is there anyone you'd like to fight right now?

Not really, man. Whoever they put in front of me is fine. This is what I love.

What is your typical training routine like? 

I'm a martial artist. So I don't really take time off. For me, I train every day whether I have a fight or not. I eat clean and I live clean.

I mean...most fighters don't do this, but I weigh all my food. For every meal, I know how many grams of protein I'm having, how much carbohydrates...I read a lot about peak athletic performance...I don't drink alcohol or smoke...in fact, I've never had a drop of alcohol or anything in my entire life.

If I have a fight, I will train six days a week...mixing it up between BJJ, Boxing, Muay Thai...and of course, I do strength and conditioning too...and MMA sparring too. I'll train twice a day for a big part of the week. When I have a fight, I head into camp usually eight weeks before a fight.

Do you train specifically for an opponent or do you just work on everything?

We'll review tapes...study my opponent...and come up with a game plan...yeah, we are pretty scientific on how we do things.

We try to impose my strengths onto the weaknesses of my opponents. My coaches plan out the eight-week camp by day. We will work specific things...for the game plan...for my opponent...

How much do you weigh right now? Do you plan on fighting at 205 lbs or 185 lbs?

I walk around 220 lbs. The UFC wants me to fight at 205 lbs. But I can fight at either weight class. We are very scientific on cutting weight too.

It's a critical part of the game...knowing how to cut weight without affecting performance...we are very scientific in our approach...in the eight-week camp and during the weight cut process and weight recovery process.

Of course, I feel stronger at 185. But the UFC wants me at 205. So that's where I will be fighting. 

What are some of your favorite moments in your career thus far?

Hmmmm, probably the ones where I was in deep waters and I had to...I had to dig myself out of a hole.

I enjoyed the Travis Lutter fight a lot. Travis caught me in a deep submission and I had to fight.

And yes, the Chuck Liddell one too. He broke my arm in the first minute of the fight...he snapped one of my bones completely...so to come back and win like that...it means a lot to me.

Tell us about your experience here at Evolve MMA. How did you spend your time?

I pretty much trained every day, often twice a day. Part of my day was spent...Matt and I trained with the professional fighters here to help them...cage work...transitions...that type of stuff.

Then we would train with the world champions here...the Thai guys, the Brazilians...the level of instruction here is incredibly high.

One of the top world champions here, Orono Wor Petchpun, personally trained me for my Muay Thai. Man, he is lightning fast...he just fought in Lumpinee last month...when we sparred, he was kicking me all over the place.

I picked up a lot of new things. It was my first experience training with a Muay Thai world champion from Thailand...and it's funny because everyone that walks around here is a world champion...either in Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, and...and it's kind of mind boggling.

We also trained both Gi and No Gi BJJ with the Brazilian World Champs here...Matt and I enjoyed every minute of it. Chatri also took us to Thailand to watch some Lumpinee fights...what an experience.

I had never been to Thailand and it was fascinating. Matt and I also gave a weekend seminar to the students here at Evolve MMA.

We also worked with Chatri on fighter development strategies and training practices at the UFC level...we passed on some of our experiences to him. 

Were there any impressive fighters on the Evolve Fight Team? UFC level?

Yeah, definitely, lots of potential here. Chatri really has the right philosophy. He's bringing the best of the best from around the world in every discipline. He understands the fight game...at a very deep and technical level...from all sides.

Of course, a lot of the pro fighters here are...still...early in their development as well-rounded MMA fighters. But the potential is there. Zoro is going to be a name to remember...I worked with him a bit and he's technical...and very big for his weight class.

He's dropping to 155 lbs this year. The training is excellent and the instructors are fantastic here. Put it this way...if I lived in Singapore, I would be training here too...and I'm not just saying that. Evolve is the real deal.

What do you do for fun?

I love reading books, man. I play the drums. I study languages and acting. I'm a very intellectually curious person.

It must be the math teacher in me or something. I'm the type of person that needs to be learning, progressing, and growing all the time.

Do you spend a lot of time reading about MMA and following the news?

You'd be surprised, but not really is the answer. It's my job and I really try to do other things in my free time. The last thing you'll see me doing is surfing the Internet on MMA websites.

When I get back to the US, I'm going on a two-week hike in the Appalachians...it's going to be grueling and fast-paced. When I am not in the gym, I am doing other things. 

How much longer do you see yourself fighting?

I'll tell you what...you won't see me fighting into my 40s...nah...I'm 36 now and I'm a young 36 because of how I treat my body. So I have a few years left in me, but I don't plan on hanging around much more than that.

It would be cool to have the Cinderella story...to get another title shot...and to retire as a World Champion, but it's not something I need. Even if I retire as a fighter, I see myself still training though.

I love the whole process of traiing and learning...I'm a martial artist...so I won't walk away from the fight game totally...

Any plans on what you will do after you retire?

Not really, but I'm the type of person that needs a goal. Whatever is next in my life, I want to be consumed by it. I see it as a way to channel my competitive fire in another direction.

Look at Dana (Dana White) for example...his Octagon is the business world. We're driven by that same competitive fire. So whether it's movies or the UFC or who knows, I know that I'm going to give it my all.

Is there anything you want to say to your fans?

Thank you for all of your support. My fans are the best in the world...and very important to me...I am able to do what I do because of them. I'm just grateful to do what I love, man. To all my fans, thank you...

Evolve Mixed Martial Arts® is Asia's premier brand of MMA academies. It is the top martial arts training organization in Asia. Evolve MMA ranks among the best academies in the world for Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Mixed Martial Arts.



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