ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – When Davion Franklin decided he wanted pursue an MMA career he headed to Albuquerque, hoping to become a part of Jackson and Wink Academy. He was inspired by former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. “I seen Jon Jones face Daniel Cormier and, like, the promotion to that fight, the lead up to that fight was just like so inspirational to me. I seen a guy who was just trying to get his life back on track and I feel like that’s where I was in my life. So, I kind of related,” said Franklin.
Story continues below:
- Investigation: What happens after someone attacks a healthcare worker?
- Don’t Miss: New Mexico native recognized in Bon Appétit Magazine for Brooklyn restaurant
- Weird: Man once accused of having sex with horse now accused of escape from jail
- KRQE en Espanol: KRQE En Español: Jueves 23 de Septiembre 2021
- Crime: FBI investigates Albuquerque couple for bank robbery
All he needed was enough money to join the JW gym and he could get started, but Franklin didn’t have much when he decided to come to Albuquerque. “When I first moved to Albuquerque I probably had like $200 and I called Jackson Wink and I was like hey, I want to move in and start training here,” said Franklin. “They said you need $600 to move in. So, I was, like, working little odd jobs around Albuquerque. I was sleeping in my car and I would go shower at the Candelaria boxing gym.”
Franklin thought about leaving Albuquerque one day and decided he would go to Jackson and Wink Academy in person. That in-person trip led to an invitation to move in and start training. JW general manager Michael Lyubimov knew a physical specimen when he saw one and the rest is history. Franklin got an opportunity with the Bellator promotion and so far he is undefeated at 4-0. His style is aggressive and punishing. His last fight was over in 21 seconds. Franklin describes himself as an explosive kickboxer who can wrestle. “I look up to no one, but my favorite fighter is, my favorite combat fighter is Mike Tyson,” said Franklin. “That’s probably my biggest inspiration and I would say Jon Jones.”
Jones is a Jackson and Wink teammate. So, Franklin gets to see him up close whenever the two are there on the same day. “I study Jon Jones and I study Tyson because there both very cerebral when it comes to MMA and when it comes to combat,” said Franklin. “You know, I try to take that and put that into my own game. I believe that someone said it’s 90% mental and 10% physical. You know what I mean and I’m big on the mental aspect of it and obviously, physically, I’m good too.”
Franklin is a former football player and wrestler. Entering the sport of MMA hasn’t been really an issue for him. “There wasn’t an adjustment because I’ve been in a lot of street fights,” said Franklin. “You know what I’m saying. I feel like me being in a lot of street fights, I worried about probably getting jumped. If I’m getting the better of somebody, in those kinds of fights, kind of prepared me for mixed martial arts.”
Outside of the octagon, Franklin has plans to open a homeless shelter one day, since he too experienced not having a place to live. In the meantime, he will continue to work on his goals in the fight game. “Right now I’m just focused on becoming a champion in Bellator, running through that division, clearing out that division and then moving forward from that. I want to be the most dominate heavyweight of all time,” said Franklin. “I want to be a champion. I want to be the undisputed champion of MMA.”