Imagining an MMA Hall of Fame: Best of the Rest

Rich Franklin

By Todd Martin Aug 4, 2014
Rich Franklin was for a time the world’s premier middleweight. | Photo: D. Mandel/

Rich Franklin
World Extreme Fighting (1999, 2000); Extreme Challenge (1999-2000, 2000, 2001); International Fighting Championship (2001); Rings (2001); World Fighting Alliance (2001); TKO Major League MMA (2002); Ultimate Fighting Championship (2003, 2003, 2004, 2005-12); Battleground (2003); Inoki Genome Federation (2003); Icon Sport (2004, 2004); Alaska Fighting Championship (2004)


When Anderson Silva twice defeated Franklin to solidify himself as the world’s best middleweight, it was not the deposing of an unworthy champion. Rather, it was the passing of the torch from one great champion to another, even greater champion. Franklin at the time had put together a 22-1 record, with his only loss coming against Lyoto Machida. At “The Ultimate Fighter 1” Finale, where Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin famously went to war, it was Franklin who won the main event by knocking out Ken Shamrock. He won the Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight title and defended it twice with brutal precision. One can make the argument that no opponent in those three title fights against Franklin was ever the same again. His knockout of Chuck Liddell at UFC 115 sent “The Iceman” into retirement. Franklin’s great career goes well beyond the showdowns with Silva.

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