UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Heavyweight Davion Franklin will compete in the Bellator cage for the second time on Saturday. In fact, it’ll be the second time he’s competed in any cage.
Franklin (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) never partook in an amateur or professional fight prior to his Bellator debut in February, which he won by first-round TKO – an unusual feat.
Franklin grew up playing football and wrestling and partook in both in junior college. As his collegiate athletic career came to an end, Franklin went down the path of WWE recruitment after being scouted by a pro wrestling legend.
“I made it to the national tournament my freshman year of college,” Franklin told MMA Junkie on Wednesday. “Literally, Gerry Brisco, after one of my matches, came up to me and I acted like I didn’t know who he was. And before I knew it, I was just in talks with him all the time. They had me go to Texas and train with Booker T for a little bit. But then again, I was just a kid at the time. I took a lot of the opportunities I had for granted.”
While the WWE path never panned out, Franklin is happy he landed in MMA. In the end, he thinks his competitive nature will fair better in a sport where he’s always trying to win.
“I’m an athlete (and) I’m a competitor,” Franklin said. “I don’t really know how I would feel being the person I am if someone told me I have to go out there and lose in front of everybody and not really have a choice in that. This is the real deal Holyfield. I definitely appreciated MMA much more than any other sport.”
Franklin, 26, is one of two fighters to receive the Mata Leon-Jackson Wink scholarship, alongside his training partner Bellator light heavyweight Christian Edwards.
“With the Mata Leon scholarship, they basically make sure that basically your living arrangements are accommodated while you just focus on MMA exclusively – no outside jobs or nothing like that,” Franklin said. “I think that’s what that entails until you get to a point like where I’m at right now, where you don’t 100 percent need it.”
Saturday night, Franklin will make his sophomore walk to the promotion’s cage at Bellator 246 when he takes on Ras Hylton (6-4 MMA, 1-0 BMMA). Like his first fight, Franklin is setting out to prove he’s a different and unique beast, who’s a high-level fast-learner.
“I’ll leave no room for questioning,” Franklin said. “A lot of people have questions like, ‘Oh, how does he get to Bellator without having any fights? How does that work?’ And no one knows who (I am). I’m going to show you guys this is how I’m in Bellator without having any fights. My second fight ever is in Bellator. I’m not on the same level as a lot of these guys. No one is like me. I’m going to go out there and prove it Saturday night.”
Bellator 246 takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena. The main card simulcasts on Paramount Network and DAZN after prelims on MMA Junkie.