Thanks Rich “Ace” Franklin. 37 pro fights, one UFC title run, and a stint as coach on the Ultimate Fighter season two later, Rich Franklin is officially retired from the sport of mixed martial arts. Nearly three years since his last UFC bout, Franklin announced via The Players Tribune that he will never again step inside a cage and punch another human in the face.
“So, where do I go from here? In my mind, the sky is the limit! I decided I didn’t want to announce “retirement”, rather, I am announcing that I have closed one chapter of my life and begun another. I am blessed to continue working in an industry I helped build. I will continue to do great things with ONE Championship.
Many years ago, I was just a guy chasing his dream. Today, I stand here humbled and appreciative of where that pursuit took me. God bless!”
Franklin made his pro MMA debut back in January 1999. What were any of us doing back in the first month of the year 1999?!? Franklin along with Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Matt Hughes, and Tito Ortiz were some of the major faces that help turn the UFC around into a profitable sports league in 2005. Franklin’s UFC middleweight title run began right when the promotion was making headway on Spike TV, pay per view and at the box office.
To celebrate Franklin’s 13 year MMA career let’s look at some of “Ace’s” best fights not available on UFC Fight Pass.
5. Lyoto Machida vs. Rich Franklin
Holy shit a young Franklin vs. a young Machida. This would be the first defeat of Franklin’s career but it was a hell of a fight before the second round finish.
4. Rich Franklin vs Chris Siefert
Franklin moves to 7-0 in his MMA career with some good ole fashioned Iowa MMA.
3. Rich Franklin vs. Travis Fulton
Can’t stop looking at Franklin’s fight shorts. This is 2001 MMA!
2. Rich Franklin vs. Aaron Brink
So someone’s foot gets stuck between the cage mat and the cage fencing. MMA is not supposed to work like that. That dudes’ foot will never feel the same again.
1. Rich Franklin vs. Leo Sylvest
LOL that tap-out though. Rich Franklin using mind control to submit his opponents early on in his MMA career.