If you're making a list of some of the most colorful forwards in MMA history, Rich Franklin has to be at the top of your shortlist. The UFC Hall of Famer used his impressive accuracy, power and groundplay to become the UFC Middleweight Champion and defeat some notable names during a stellar career. w happily retired from active competition and serving as the Vice President of ONE Championship, Franklin sat down with M&F to share his thoughts on how he built his punching power and why ONE Championship has the best forwards in the world, which we look forward to ONE look forward to Prime Video 5.
"When it comes to speed and strength, there are things you can do in the gym like weightlifting and resistance training," explains Franklin. “When I say gym, it includes everything like plyometric exercises, concentric (where the muscle shortens to remain stable) and eccentric (where the muscle lengthens with resistance) types of exercises. Then there are things you can do in the jiujitsu and boxing schools. Really, what builds speed more than anything else is practicing technique.”
Rich Franklin learned to hit hard and fast
Known as "Ace" during his Octagon days, Franklin's mastery of technique can be seen in his 2005 match against Ken Shamrock, where he won by TKO thanks to a series of punches in two minutes and 42 seconds. Or his "Knockout of the Night" first-round loss to Chuck Liddell in 2010, where he absorbed some devastating kicks and returned fire with a lightning-fast right hand. The list of Franklin's career highlights is long and illustrious. "Everything depends on the efficiency of the movement," says the MMA icon. "And the best way to build power in one shot is to throw a lot of shots.
He adds: "For example: there are exercises I do at the gym where I might kick a medicine ball against a wall or push with my hip so it mimics the punch, but at the end of the day, it's not exactly the same how to beat So if you're wearing gloves and actually hitting a sack and working on the cross throw technique, for example, you're learning how to throw that punch at the sack. Drop your center of gravity, throw your hips in, and all of these things happen at the same time. And it's the timing for it, because when a variable fails in this technique, the potency of your shot decreases significantly. You know it helps to be stronger which is why I've always been a big proponent of strength training and that can be things like band training, high rep volume training (with light weight) or low rep volume training (with high weight volume). If you want to fight well, you practice fighting technique.”
Rich Franklin says ONE Championship has the greatest forwards in the world
As Vice President and Seminar Coach, Franklin has seen many of the athletes in ONE Championship up close and says he is amazed by their arsenal. "These events that we do have different martial arts[competitions]," says Franklin. “You have these kickboxing events and muay thai within the events and you can see you hitting in ONE Championship at a level way beyond MMA. I remember when I first came to Singapore and worked with some legitimate Muay Thai champions from Thailand. The difference between the Muay Thai I learned for MMA and there is a need to tweak things, don't get me wrong, and the Thai they practice, it was like night and day. I would throw a kick and get kicked two or three times because they are just more efficient with their movements. With rumors of ONE Championship coming to the United States in 2023, now is the time to familiarize yourself with the various disciplines featured in ONE Championship, available through the Company's broadcast partner: Amazon Prime Video .
At 48 and still in phenomenal shape, the former high school teacher is now in a position where he cares about aspiring fighters as much as the kids he used to teach math classes to. “You watch ONE on Prime Video 5, which is coming soon (December 2, 8pm EST) and you did it [Anatoliy] Malykhin and Ryan de Ridder as the main event. I really like these two guys," shares Franklin. "When I see two guys like that fight, especially now when I'm working in the comment box and calling out fights, it's like, 'Oh man! You are proud and loyal to both. It's tough because you just want to be successful in this business.”
Courtesy of Amazon Prime
ONE on Prime Video 5: De Ridder vs. Malykhin will be the first ONE Championship map in history to feature four World Championship fights in four different martial arts disciplines (MMA, Kickboxing, Grappling and Muay Thai). Live streaming this Friday starting at 8:00 p.m. EST and FREE to Amazon subscribers in the US and Canada. Everyone else can see at watch.onefc.com.