Former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin (20-7) made his UFC debut when he scored a first round knockout against the late Evan Tanner back in 2003.
After that, “Ace” went on to become one of the promotion’s biggest stars and most marketed athletes. He obtained the middleweight title after defeating Tanner for a second time, and even coached a season of The Ultimate Fighter against welterweight champ Matt Hughes. Even so, his days as a UFC superstar were numbered when Anderson Silva (33-5) signed with the promotion in 2006. “The Spider” usurped Franklin as the promotion’s middleweight monarch via one of the most brutal knockouts in UFC history. Franklin quickly rebounded by scoring back-to-back wins against Jason MacDonald and Yushin Okami, but was knocked out again by Silva in their rematch.
After being destroyed twice in his battles against Silva, many thought Franklin’s career would end shortly afterwards. They were wrong.
The former math teacher went on to defeat Travis Lutter, Matt Hamill, Wanderlei Silva, and even Chuck Liddell. But, despite those victories, his post-Silva career has been full of mixed successes: he dropped a razor-thin split decision to Dan Henderson, a knockout loss to Vitor Belfort, a unanimous decision to Forrest Griffin, and another knockout in his most recent fight against Cung Le.
After his loss to Cung Le, Franklin decided to take a hiatus from mixed martial arts.
In a recent interview, after having not fought in the octagon for an entire year, the thirty-nine year old has expressed his interest in stepping in the octagon one last time before hanging up the gloves for good.
According to MMA Junkie, UFC President Dana White has said he’ll offer Franklin that chance.
“He can do whatever he wants to do.”
The question is when and who? Also, Which weight class? Over the years, he’s fought at middleweight, catchweight, and light heavyweight. Having received the blessings of White, the cards now appear to be in “Ace’s” hands. We’ll just have to wait and see how he plays them.