Earlier this year, 38-year old UFC icon Rich Franklin spoke publicly about undergoing Testosterone Replacement Therapy as a means of allowing him to continue competing at a high level despite the natural effects of aging. At the time, “Ace” appeared open to the idea, going so far as to say he’d even spoken to doctors and the UFC about the possibility.

However, based on the reaction he got from fans after simply hinting at the notion, Franklin has since reconsidered his stance and feels fairly certain he’ll hang his gloves up before crossing the line into TRT territory.

“The public perception of TRT is that it’s cheating. The moment I said I was actually thinking about it, I started getting quite a bit of backlash,” explained Franklin in an interview with ESPN. “More than likely, in my mind, I’ll choose retirement over the necessity of TRT to continue.”

For now Franklin will focus on his immediate future based on his belief he can still hang with the sport’s best without additional testosterone in his system starting with a bout against Cung Le on November 10 at UFC on Fuel 6. The likeable former champion feels a win, coupled with a June victory over Wanderlei Silva, could put him in a position to challenge for contendership in his next fight, though confessed, “That depends on whether they even want to have a Franklin versus Anderson Silva III.”

“I’ve had trouble maintaining ranking in any weight class just because a lot of people don’t know where to put me since I’ve been fighting at catch-weights,” elaborated Franklin on his current status.

Franklin is 3-3 since 2009, though holds an overall record of 29-6 including past triumphs over the likes of Yushin Okami, Matt Hamill, and Chuck Liddell.