If you were writing a list of some of the most scintillating forwards in MMA history, Rich Franklin has to be up there on your shortlist. The UFC Hall of Famer used his precision, power and ground game to become the UFC middleweight champion, knocking out a few notable names in a stellar career. Now happily retired from active competition and working as Vice President of ONE Championship, Franklin sat down with M&F to discuss his thoughts on how he built his punching power and why ONE Championship has the best attackers of the world as we eagerly await ONE on Prime Video 5.
“When it comes to speed and power, there are things you can do in the gym like weight lifting and resistance training,” Franklin says. “When I say gym it encompasses everything like plyometric, concentric (where the muscle shortens to stay stable) and eccentric (where the muscle lengthens due to resistance) exercises. Then there are things you can do at 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” back in the days of the Octagon, Franklin’s mastery of technique can be seen in his 2005 match against Ken Shamrock where he won by TKO with a flurry of punches in two minutes and 42 seconds. Or, his 2010 “Knockout of the Night” first-round loss to Chuck Liddell where he absorbed devastating kicks and fought back with a lightning-fast right hand. Franklin’s list of career highlights is long and illustrious. “It’s all about the efficiency of the movement you make,” explains the MMA icon. “And, the best way to build the power of a punch is to throw a lot of punches.
He adds: “For example: there are exercises that I will do in the gym where I will maybe throw a medicine ball against a wall or use my hip to push, so that it mimics the punch but at the end of the day is not exactly the same as knocking. So when you’re wearing gloves and you’re punching a bag and working, for example: the technique of throwing a cross is learning to engage that punch on the bag. Lower your center of gravity, throw your hips, and all of these things happen simultaneously. And that’s the timing, because if any variable in this technique fails, your punch power drops dramatically. You know it helps to get stronger that’s why I’ve always been a big proponent of resistance training and it can be things like band training, high rep volume training ( with low weight) or low rep training (with high weight volume). If you want to be good at fighting, you practice fighting technique.
Rich Franklin says ONE Championship has the greatest forwards on Earth
As vice president and seminar coach, Franklin has been able to get close to many ONE Championship athletes and says he is blown away by their arsenal. “There are different martial arts (competitions) at these events that we do,” Franklin explains. “You have these kickboxing and Muay Thai events in the events and you can see punching in ONE Championship on a level way beyond MMA. I remember when I first came to Singapore and worked with legit Thai Muay Thai champions. The difference between the Muay Thai that I learned for MMA, and you have to tweak things don’t get me wrong, and the Thai that they practice, it was like night and day. I would kick and get two or three kicks because they are just more efficient in their movements. With rumors abounding that ONE Championship will be coming to the United States in 2023, now is the time to familiarize yourself with the various disciplines on display in ONE Championship, available through the company’s streaming partner: Amazon Prime Video.
At 48, and still in phenomenal shape, the former high school teacher is now in a position where up-and-coming fighters are just as important to him as the kids he used to teach in math class. . “You’re watching ONE on Prime Video 5 coming up (December 2, 8 p.m. EST), and you’ve [Anatoliy] Malykhin and Ryan de Ridder as the main event. I really like these two guys,” Franklin shares. “When I see two guys like that fighting, especially now that I’m working in the commentary booth calling fights, it’s like, ‘Oh, man! You are proud and loyal to both of them. It’s hard, because you just want to be successful in this business.
ONE on Prime Video 5: De Ridder vs. Malykhin will be the first ONE Championship card in history to feature four world title fights across four different martial arts disciplines (MMA, kickboxing, grappling and Muay Thai). Streams live this Friday starting at 8:00 PM EST and is FREE to Amazon subscribers in the US and Canada. Everyone else can see on watch.onefc.com.