The UFC has announced that former middleweight champion Rich Franklin will be joining the 2019 class of the UFC Hall Of Fame.
Franklin started his MMA career in 1999 and continued to fight with various promotions and events until his UFC debut at UFC 42 on April 25, 2003. He entered the promotion with a perfect 12-0 (1) record and stunned Evan Tanner in his debut, winning via TKO in the first round.
He would fight Tanner again at UFC 53 and win the middleweight title via TKO in the 4th round. Franklin would successfully defend the title against Nate Quarry and David Loiseau before losing it to Anderson Silva at UFC 64 on November 14, 2016.
The former math teacher from Cinncinnati, Ohio would face Silva again in a rematch a year later but was once again on the losing end, failing to recapture the middleweight title.
Throughout his UFC career, Franklin would be known for his willingness to fight at various weight classes and take on any challenge thrown his way. He regularly fought at middleweight and light heavyweight in addition to catchweight bouts against Lyoto Machida, Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva twice.
While many fighters are motivated by winning titles, Franklin’s drive was to challenge himself and have “exciting fights” hence the different weight classes he competed in. The UFC took advantage of this on many occasions and it only increased his popularity as a result.
“I was just kind of fighting where the UFC wanted me to be. It did get weird.”
His fights against Wanderlei Silva are perhaps two of his greatest wins and matches. He won both via unanimous decision and earning two Fight Of The Night honors.
Franklin’s final match with the UFC was on November 10, 2012 when he lost via knockout to Cung Le. He would finish his career with a 29-7 (1) record.
Shortly before Franklin retired, he still had two fights left on his contract. During an interview he discussed the possibility about retiring but also possible opponents that he would like to face. One name that came up was Michael Bisping.
The fight between Franklin and Bisping never came to fruition but the two will meet at the Hall Of Fame ceremonies as the are both being inducted in the same class.
Franklin remains active in the world of mixed martial arts. He is currently the vice-president of rival MMA promotion ONE Championship.
The UFC Hall Of Fame ceremonies take place on July 5, 2019 as part of International Fight Week in Las Vegas, Nevada