Ahead of his fourth professional fight about to take place at Bellator 264, heavyweight Davion Franklin is getting plenty of deserved attention. Coming into his fight against Everett Cumings, Franklin holds a record of 3-0, while his opponent comes in 15-0, except there’s one big difference, Franklin’s fights have all come in Bellator, and President Scott Coker has paid him high praise already.
Following his victory at Bellator 259, a first-round knockout of veteran Tyler King, Coker took to Twitter to tout Davion Franklin as one of the best heavyweight prospects in the world, and it’s hard to disagree.
— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) May 21, 2021
With two first-round finishes and a unanimous decision victory to his credit, Franklin is showing he’s ready for whatever comes his way. His quick rise into the spotlight, and Bellator rankings, can certainly be credited to his time in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he trains at JacksonWink MMA. A recipient of the MataLeon Management, JacksonWink scholarship, Franklin’s team has provided him the resources where his sole focus is to show up, train, and perform on fight night. Mission accomplished so far.
Ahead of his fourth professional fight, Davion Franklin spoke with MyMMANews about his career trajectory, why he’s only competing against himself in his fights, and how he plans to change the landscape in the heavyweight division.
With such legendary names that have been not only at JacksonWink MMA but also in the talk among greats at the heavyweight division, Franklin makes it clear, he only wants to be himself.
“I’m not trying to be the next Jon Jones, I’m not trying to be the next Alistair [Overeem], or the next nobody. I’m trying to be the first Davion, the only Davion. There’s a method to my madness and I feel I’m different than anyone else that has ever been seen in this division.”
Hearing a compliment from the boss and promoter Scott Coker is one thing, and for some, it could get to their head, but for Davion Franklin, it was a moment of validation.
“It just solidified everything that I already thought of myself. That’s what that was. It was more like ‘I know I’m not crazy to be thinking this about myself’ for him to say that, I can’t be crazy. I’ve been saying this, I know what I’m capable of.”
Not to be mistaken for arrogance, there’s a confidence from Franklin that can’t be taken away from him, and because of that, he’s been able to go through WWE tryouts, spend some time in football, and now in MMA, it’s all coming together.
“I always knew I had the ability to be a really, really great athlete. I’ve always had that belief that I was going to be great, and I just had to pick what I wanted to be great, I just needed to pick what I wanted to be great at, and I just needed to put some hard work behind that talent. It also comes from people laughing at me when I would say I’m going to be the first millionaire in my family, and people would be laughing at me and telling me I’m pipedreaming. It comes from me being the only person who believed in me, and I became my own biggest fan.”
His next opponent, Everett Cummings, has a record of 15-0 and while nothing is taken away from an opponent with a resume of that stature, Franklin insists, he’s competing against himself inside the cage, not Cummings.
“No disrespect to him, but who has he beat? The other thing is, I’m not preparing for him, he has to prepare for me. He has 9 submission finishes, he has 6 TKO finishes, meaning he likes to go to the ground. You know how I am on the ground, he doesn’t like to stand up, I’m looking to put on a showcase.”
When the smoke clears and Bellator 264 concludes, if all goes according to plan for Franklin, he’ll continue on his path of being a game-changer in the heavyweight division, and in Bellator.
“I’m going to change the game. Changing the game to me is a guy who comes out of nowhere, who comes out of the abyss and takes over the show. I don’t only want to win. I want to win in dominant fashion. That’s my purpose. It’s not just to be the greatest or be the best, I want to be able to look at my highlight reel and get goosebumps, me, myself. I’m competing against myself. Every performance I want to get better and better and outdo myself from the last time I was out there.”
Davion Franklin has never been handed anything in life, he has taken the road less traveled to get where he is so far in his MMA career, and even that road has chewed up and spit out plenty of talented people throughout time. But as someone who grew up in bad areas around Chicago, Illinois, Franklin knows, every single fight can change his life, and for a life that has seen more tragedy and chaos than most, he’s not going back to that.
There’s no disrespect to any opponent who stands in front of him, but the message is clear, Davion Franklin has goals and the path has been set for him to get there. Opponents are no longer roadblocks, they’re checkpoints because the journey won’t stop until “All Day” has changed his life, his career, and MMA’s heavyweight division for good.
Complete interview with Davion Franklin below:
Mike Pendleton is a current contributor to MyMMANews, BJPenn.com, and TheScrap.Co while also hosting his “On The Mic” podcast and works as an Associate Producer on Sirius XM’s Fight Nation channel.
With a special passion for interviewing and talking to some of the very best around the fight game, you can read or listen to Mike’s work across his multiple outlets.
Follow me on Twitter: @MP2310