After watching Rich Franklin edge Wanderlei Silva at UFC 99, I began to think about where I would put Rich Franklin in terms of the all times greats. It seems as if the term 'legend' is being thrown around much more loosely in compared to years past. Franklin has admitted that he will probably only fight another 2 years or so, which equates to about 6-7 more fights. Of course his performances in those fights can help mold his career and legacy even more. However, I'd like to take a snapshot of it right now(just looking at his UFC fights):
- Franklin the former UFC Middleweight champion
- Franklin successfully defended his title twice
- He's 12-3 in the UFC
- Those 3 losses have come against Anderson Silva(2X) and Dan Henderson
- Franklin has finished his opponents 60% of the time in his UFC career
- Franklin's UFC opponents have a career winning percentage of 65%.
- Franklin has only been finished 3 times in his career
All of those points are impressive, but let's delve a little deeper inside the numbers. The winning percentage of Franklin's opponents is impressive. However, if you look a bit closer you could argue that that percentage is skewed a bit. For example, Edwin Dewees has 35 career victories, but the majority of those wins came on the Rage In The Cage circuit against mediocre competition. The late Evan Tanner's resume is similar, but the competition he faced is a bit better and accounts for 32 wins. Wanderlei Silva and Dan Henderson both have 30+ wins, but it could be argued that Franklin fought them as they were on the down side of their careers.
Franklin has stated that he will stay in the UFC light heavyweight division. He may or may not be able to run the gauntlet of the best light heavyweights in the world. So just looking at this snapshot, would Franklin qualify as one of the all time greats in UFC/MMA history right now? Or will he be remembered most for getting destroyed twice by current UFC MW champion Anderson Silva?