The late Norman Vincent Peale, author of the 1952 bestseller “The Power of Positive Thinking,” had nothing against Davion Franklin.
Here is an exchange from a recent phone interview with Franklin, an MMA fighter from Albuquerque, ahead of his Friday fight against Marcelo Golm in Tacoma, Washington.
Reporter: “Obviously you aspire to be Bellator heavyweight champion…
Franklin: “I’m the Bellator heavyweight champion. Go on. Come on, brother. I’m the guy who’s gonna knock all these guys out. I’m the guy everyone wants to see fight.
“I am the heavyweight champion of the world. I’m going to be the biggest name in the sport very soon. Why? Because I’m the most exciting heavyweight, that’s why.
Those words from Franklin might come as a surprise to MMA veteran Ryan Bader, who is actually Bellator’s heavyweight champion. Franklin, just five fights into his professional career — he had no amateur experience — is a distant No. 8 in the Bellator heavyweight rankings.
Admittedly, however, so far Franklin has walked the walk. He is 5-0 with three knockouts, having displayed stunning power and agility.
Golm (9-3), a former UFC fighter from São Paulo, Brazil, presents probably Franklin’s toughest challenge yet. And as confident as Franklin is, he’s not used to small talk.
When asked if a win over Golm would move him up the rankings, Franklin said probably not “because he’s not ranked.” But I think it does more for my legitimacy. I think this guy, he’s legit. He fought in the UFC. It is good.
“…Obviously another win on my record is always good, and a win over a legit guy is even better. There is always a positive side to every situation.
A Chicago native, Franklin wrestled in high school and college. Intrigued by MMA, he moved to Albuquerque to train at Jackson-Wink. Manager Richard Guerrero was also intrigued by Franklin’s potential and, through management company Mata Leon de Guerrero, awarded him a “scholarship”.
Franklin doesn’t really need to go to school, other than the proverbial, perpetual hard knocks.
For Franklin, it’s the only degree program right now.
The city of Tacoma, near the larger city of Seattle, offers panoramic views of Puget Sound and Mount Rainier.
Franklin, frankly, isn’t interested.
“I barely leave my hotel room (on a combat trip),” he said. “I don’t want to be distracted from what I’m here for.
“I’m not here for sightseeing. I’m here to hang out and kick ass and take names. I am here for this. I’m here to go dominate and destroy my opposition.
Calling himself a student of the game, Franklin said he studied Golm and had a good read on the Brazilian’s strengths and weaknesses. But always, he said, his plan is simply to disrupt any plan his opponent might have.
“I break these guys down,” he said. “I exploit their strengths and their weaknesses. But make no mistake, I’m more of a problem for these guys than these guys are for me. I guarantee they must come up with a real game plan for me. I just have to go out there, be myself and have fun.
“That’s the difference.”
HEAVYWEIGHTS: Franklin’s Jackson-Wink teammate Don’Tale Mayes (9-4) is scheduled to face Hamdy Abdelwahab (3-0) on a UFC card July 30 in Dallas.
Another Jackson-Wink heavyweight, Juan Adams (10-4), defeated Sam Kei by second-round TKO (ground and pound) on a PFL card in Atlanta on June 24.
On the same PFL card, former Jackson-Wink heavyweight Maurice Greene (10-7), who continues to train in Albuquerque, lost by unanimous decision to Denis Goltsov.