With the UFC's first visit to Macao in the book, it's time to take a close look at what may or may not be next for the two stars that headlined this historic event. Just in case you missed the fight and for some strange reason you happen to be reading this article here's what happened - Le punched Franklin in the face really hard and Franklin didn't get up. When he finally did get on his feet again with some help from his friends he was admittedly rather fuzzy. Le on the other hand was on a cloud named nine. Alright, enough with the small talk/intro pleasantries. Let's get started.
While both these men are closer to the end of their respective careers than the beginning, the middle, or even the back end, I find it difficult to call for either man's retirement. Le could easily go out on the highest of highs. He KO's Rich Franklin at the age of 40 closing out his career in the UFC with two consecutive victories. How does he top what he just did in Macao today? If Franklin gets knocked out three more times like he did tonight in his next three fights he's still a UFC Hall of Famer. He took Wanderlei's hardest shots in Brazil just this past summer, and came back to get the victory, so I find it hard to say his chin has betrayed him. Le came in looking like he was either nursing an injury or pacing himself for the long haul in this contest. It may have just been that he was waiting for the perfect opportunity to land a direct hit when Franklin made the first slip.
For now it appears that Le will take a break to spend some time with his family. Good move. Enjoy the afterglow and let the finest hour of your mma career extend into 2013. Like any true competitor he'll decide that he wants another taste and the UFC will give it to him. One fighter comes to mind for me that would provide a potential fight of the year candidate or just another brutal knockout on either end. He's set to make his return at UFC 155 in December and if he emerges with his hand raised, I'd like to see Chris Leben up next for Cung Le.
Rich Franklin will be back. He's still got a few fights left in the tank. If Le proves to be what Rashad was to Liddell and his chin is never the same again after Macao, well, we will have to see that play out. For now I think the best thing for Rich to do would be to get right back in there against another top contender coming off a loss. How about Tim Kennedy since Strikeforce will be kaput after it's final event in January? It doesn't get much more American than a Rich Franklin vs. Tim Kennedy old fashioned scrap. Well, Brian Stann vs. Rich Franklin also has a nice ring to it. photo via ufc