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Franklin wants Bisping before retiring

ESPN staff
May 7, 2013
Rich Franklin's defaet by Cung Le in China ended his hopes of a return to middleweight title contention © Getty Images

Former middleweight champion Rich Franklin has his sights set on a swansong showdown with Michael Bisping after conceding that his time as a title contender is all but over.

"I look at my Twitter and a lot of people talk about Bisping," Franklin told MMA Weekly. "That would be an exciting fight and something the fans would want to see. I'm an exciting fighter, he's an exciting fighter, and we both like to throw down."

But while the Englishman has sat on the cusp of a title shot for five years since switching from light-heavyweight to middleweight, 38-year-old Franklin knows his time as a contender for the UFC title he last held in 2006 has passed.

"I know I'm not going to put the time in to get all the way back to the title, not this late in the game," Franklin added. "After my last fight, the timetable for me to recapture the 185 title has been way set back."

After losing his title to Anderson Silva in October 2006 and falling to the Brazilian in a rematch in 2007, Franklin stepped up from 185lb to 205lb for a time before returning to the middleweight division in 2012, only to see his hopes of a second title tilt dashed at the first hurdle with a first-round defeat by Cung Le in China.

"I'm at a point where I'm not going to put in two, two-and-a-half years to get back at a title shot," Franklin explained. "I know I don't have that in me, so now I'm faced with a decision: 'what do I do?'

"I'm not sure if I have one or two more fights left on my UFC contract, but do I fulfil the contract or just do one more fight and then retire? I think about these things on a daily basis.

"My intent at this point in time is to fight again. The uncertainty is more about the fact that I know I'm not going to put the time in to get all the way back to the title, not this late in the game."

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