Rich Franklin may have just been called out on Twitter by MMA's favorite felon - Chael Sonnen - but that isn't who "Ace" was talking about in a recent interview. The former high school match teacher has already lost badly to Anderson Silva twice but a true champion never gives up.
That's why, though he says he doesn't hold a grudge for the Brazilian who took the UFC middleweight title away from him in 2006, Franklin says he'd not only welcome a third crack at the injured "Spider" but is also confident he would beat him.
“Would I fight Anderson a third time? Absolutely," Franklin said during a interview on Submission Radio (audio below. Franklin comes on at about the 1:25 hour mark.)
"Is it because I feel like I have some unfinished business? Not at all. It’s just, in my mind as a champion and to have the mentality of a champion I 100% wholeheartedly believe that I can beat Anderson in a fight. Not just Anderson but just anybody like that’s the mentality you have to have. If somebody says 'Rich do you think you can beat Anderson Silva in a fight?' Absolutely, yes. 'Rich do you think you could beat Jon Jones in a fight?' Absolutely yes. Like, you have to answer yes to those questions and not just because it’s a formality, but because you believe that stuff, because you believe in yourself and if you don’t believe in yourself then you don’t have any business pursuing a title in a sport or something like that, you don’t have any business in the pursuit of being the best. And so yeah I would take a fight with Anderson. It wouldn’t be for any reason like redemption of vengeance or retribution or any other kinda cool word that we’ve seen on a UFC poster before, but yeah I would fight him and I believe I could beat him and that’s just me with the champions mentality.”
Training to and then ultimately getting in a ring or cage to fight another trained athlete for sport is a pretty audacious thing. As Franklin explains, real fighters - especially fighting champions - necessarily have an almost illogical belief in their abilities to conquer any foe.
So, don't jump all over Franklin for responding in the affirmative when asked if he'd fight Silva. We're sure that Silva would say the same thing about fighting Chris Weidman for a third time.
Fighters gon' fight.
That said, Franklin hasn't fought since 2012, though maintains that he isn't retired yet. Who would you like to see Franklin fight next?
Follow Elias on Twitter @EliasCepeda & @YahooCagewriter