The UFC Hall of Fame has added another fighter, and it’s been a long time coming. While the UFC has recently been inducting fighters right after they retire (with some coming back post-HOF induction), this time they went with a fighter that’s been retired for a while – former middleweight champion Rich Franklin.
During the early TUF era, you’d be hard pressed to find a fighter that was more respected or was more of a company man. The 44-year-old Franklin entered the UFC as a light heavyweight way back in 2003. After sporadic appearances in the UFC and other organizations, he finally entered the promotion full-time at the TUF 1 Finale, where he capped off a great night with a quick TKO win over fellow HOFer Ken Shamrock.
In his next fight at UFC 53, he defeated Evan Tanner for the UFC middleweight title. After two memorable title defenses, he ran into buzzsaw Anderson Silva a couple of times and had to start from scratch again.
His later career was defined by stepping up whenever the UFC needed him, whether it was at 185, 190, 195, or 205 pounds. In fact, many latched onto the idea of a 195-pound weight class because of Ace, lovingly referring to it as “Franklinweight”.
He alternated wins and losses for the last eight fights of his career, but put on thrilling performances with his knockout of another former HOFer, Chuck Liddell, and a couple of wins over Wanderlei Silva.
Frankin’s career came to an end in 2012, with an overall record 29-7 (1 NC). He will join fellow former middleweight champion Michael Bisping in receiving the honor at the UFC Fan Expo on July 5th.