Rich Franklin was king of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s middleweight mountain before arachnophobia gripped the weight class with the arrival of a certain Brazilian muay Thai machine.
A former math teacher at Oak Hills High School in Bridgetown, Ohio, Franklin started his mixed martial arts career in 1999, went 22-1 with one no contest in his first 24 outings and rose to the top of the 185-pound division. He captured the middleweight crown with a fourth-round stoppage of Evan Tanner at UFC 53 and retained it in subsequent appearances against Nate Quarry and David Loiseau before two blowout losses to the great Anderson Silva ended his run at the top. Franklin made his final appearance inside the Octagon in 2012 and was later inducted into the pioneer wing of the UFC Hall of Fame. He currently serves as vice president of the Singapore-based One Championship organization.
Four-plus years after Franklin announced his retirement from competition, here are some of the numbers that came to define him:
45: Years of age. Franklin was born on Oct. 5, 1974 in Cincinnati.
5: Wins over former UFC or Pride Fighting Championships titleholders. Franklin defeated Tanner (twice), Wanderlei Silva (twice) and Chuck Liddell.
20: Victories by knockout or technical knockout, accounting for nearly 70 percent of Franklin’s career total.
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7: Losses to former UFC, Pride or Strikeforce champions. Franklin suffered setbacks against Silva (twice), Lyoto Machida, Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, Forrest Griffin and Cung Le. He was 29-0 in all other bouts.
211: Total strikes landed in a five-round unanimous decision over Loiseau at UFC 58, then an all-time high for a middleweight title fight. Franklin outlanded “The Crow” by a staggering 211-26 margin, as he drew 50-42, 50-42 and 50-43 marks from the judges.
146: Combined wins between the six men—Machida, Silva, Henderson, Belfort, Griffin and Le—who have beaten Franklin. They own a cumulative .716 winning percentage.
10: Seconds needed to knock out Roberto Ramirez at a Battleground event on July 19, 2003 in Chicago. It was the fastest finish of Franklin’s career.
3: Post-fight performance bonuses won in the UFC. Franklin was awarded “Fight of the Night” twice and “Knockout of the Night” once for a total haul of $210,000.
4: Submission victories by armbar. Franklin’s list of victims: Dennis Reed, Marvin Eastman, Yan Pellerin and Jorge Rivera.
17: First-round finishes to Franklin’s credit. Five of them took place inside 90 seconds.
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