Rich Franklin is the latest addition to the UFC Hall of Fame, announced Saturday as part of the Class of 2019.
Middleweights were a huge part of the story at UFC 236. And that included a blast from the past as well. During the PPV event’s broadcast on Saturday night from Atlanta GA, the UFC announced that Rich Franklin, the former middleweight champion, was heading to the Hall of Fame. A Class of 2019 Inductee, Franklin will join the Pioneer Wing of the hall.
The Hall of Fame ceremony will take place this July, during International Fight Week in Las Vegas, NV.
Franklin (29–7 (1)) served as the UFC’s 185lb king from 2005 to 2006, winning the belt at UFC 53 against Evan Tanner. That bout came on the heels of a five fight win streak split between the UFC and smaller promotions. ‘Ace’ had made his pro debut years earlier, in 1999, and stepped into the octagon for the first time in 2003.
It was wins over Jorge Rivera and Ken Shamrock, however, that propelled Franklin to his first title fight. After finishing Tanner via TKO, he would defend the title twice: against Nate Quarry and David Loiseau. In this third attempt at a title defense, he ran up against Anderson Silva. ‘The Spider’ would finish Franklin with a knee in the first round at their first meeting, at UFC 64.
Two wins and a year later, ‘Ace’ would find himself trapped in the Spider’s web again. This time challenging for his old belt, he would again be finished by knees, in the second round. Franklin would never get a crack at another title shot, but the former math teacher would pick up notable wins over Wanderlei Silva and Chuck Liddell. His final fight came at UFC on Fuel TV 6 in 2012, where he was knocked out by Cung Le in the main event.
Franklin now serves as an exec with UFC rival ONE Championship. He’ll be best known for his time in the UFC, however. Yet his UFC legacy is more than just his title reign. Franklin (yes, we know, he looks like Jim Carrey) always strove to entertain. 15 knockouts and 10 submission wins are a testament to that. He also served as a fantastic ambassador for the sport, as a well-spoken, articulate fighter who stayed away from the trash talk and headlining grabbing already leaving a sour taste in some fan’s mouths.
Another middleweight champ, Michael Bisping, was previously announced as being inducted in the Class of 2019.