Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin is the next fighter to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. "Ace" will be enshrined during International Fight Week on July 5 from Las Vegas. The event will air live on UFC Fight Pass.
Franklin joins the Pioneer Era wing as the 16th inductee. That portion of the hall of fame is for fighters who turned professional before November 17, 2000, are at least 35 years old and have been retired for at least one year.
"Rich Franklin is one of the original, big stars of UFC, from when we first bought the company," UFC President Dana White said. "Rich helped us take the sport of mixed martial arts to another level and put UFC on the map during the early days. Rich has always been a class act. He's a guy who would fight anyone and do whatever it took to help grow the sport of MMA. He is a true legend and I'm honored to call him my friend."
During his 13-year, 37-fight career, Franklin went 29-7 with a no-contest. He won 14 times in the UFC, scoring victories over the likes of Ken Shamrock, Chuck Liddell, Evan Tanner and Wanderlei Silva.
"This induction is less of my doing and more of the culmination of the many hours each coach, training partner and my manager spent with me," Franklin said. "So often people talk about the sacrifices an athlete has to make to succeed, but my friends and family sacrificed far more for my career. Few people in this world live out a childhood dream and turn a hobby into a career, let alone end with Hall of Fame recognition, and God has blessed me with both. I am humbled by the support of my fans over the years and those particularly persistent on this induction."
Franklin turned to MMA after teaching math in Cincinnati at a local high school. He earned both his Bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Master's in Education from the University of Cincinnati.