He recovered from a broken arm suffered during the Liddell fight and he next faced former light-heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin. Griffin defeated Franklin via unanimous decision after a great fight.
Franklin was next set to face Pride veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Unfortunately Nogueira was injured just a few weeks before the bout and the entire fight was scratched completely from the UFC 133 card.
Franklin was next rumored to face former UFC light-heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz. Instead, Franklin was forced to undergo shoulder surgery and was out for a while. It was most recently announced that Franklin would be out until summer 2012 unfortunately. He was again rumored to face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
After recovering, Franklin announced that he had dropped back down to the UFC's middleweight division to face former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le. After former UFC light-heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort suffered a broken hand in late May 2012, Franklin stepped out of the Cung Le fight -- being replaced by Patrick Cote -- and stepped in for a rematch of his 2009 bout with Wanderlei Silva. This time around the fight would be five rounds however, main-eventing the UFC 147 card.
Franklin defeated Wanderlei via unanimous decision after an exciting back and forth war. He then faced Cung Le in the main event of the UFC's first China show in November 2012, losing via first round knockout. Franklin stated that he was contemplating retirement for the first time.
After over a year of inactivity Franklin announced in late November 2013 that he would be retiring from the sport of mixed martial arts -- after one more fight inside the Octagon. Rumors stretched from a rematch with Dan Henderson at light-heavyweight to a fight with Michael Bisping at middleweight.
In April 2014 Franklin stated that he wanted a third fight with fellow former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva as his retirement fight.
Instead, around three years after the Le fight, Franklin officially retired from MMA in late September 2015.
- Rich Franklin vs. Aaron Brink - Franklin came in undefeated, but the fight was a no-contest due to an accidental injury to Aaron Brink with his leg stuck between the cage and the floor. The fight was for the IFC United States light-heavyweight title with Brink defending.
- Rich Franklin vs. Travis Fulton - Travis Fulton was forced to forfeit the fight for a TKO victory for the undefeated Franklin between rounds one and two, because of a broken hand sustained in the first round. The fight was for Rings USA.
- Rich Franklin vs. Marvin Eastman - Franklin came into the fight undefeated.
- Rich Franklin vs. Antony Rea - The fight was Franklin's TKO debut. Both men came into the fight undefeated and it was Antony Rea's first defeat. The ref was Matt Hughes.
- Rich Franklin vs. Edwin Dewees - The fight was the UFC debut of Edwin Dewees.
- Lyoto Machida vs. Rich Franklin - Both fighters came into the fight undefeated and the fight was Franklin's first loss.
- Rich Franklin vs. Leo Sylvest
- Rich Franklin vs. Ralph Dilon
- Rich Franklin vs. Jorge Rivera
- Ken Shamrock vs. Rich Franklin
- Rich Franklin vs. Evan Tanner 2 - The fight was for the middleweight championship, with Evan Tanner defending.
- Rich Franklin vs. David Loiseau - The fight was for the UFC middleweight title with Franklin defending. Franklin broke his hand sometime in the second round but he beat David Loiseau effectively for nearly the entire twenty-five minutes of the bout and retained his title by unanimous judge's decision.
- Anderson Silva vs. Rich Franklin 1 - The fight was for Franklin's middleweight title, against the devastating Muay Thai striker in Silva. Silva brutally utilized knees from the Muay Thai clinch to the face of Franklin, breaking his nose and knocking him unconscious to win the belt.
- Rich Franklin vs. Jason MacDonald - The fight was Franklin's first after losing the title to Anderson Silva. Jason MacDonald had a two-fight reach advantage and a two-fight height advantage, as well.
- Rich Franklin vs. Yushin Okami - Whoever won the fight was speculated to earn a title shot against middleweight champion Anderson Silva. The fight was Yushin Okami's first loss inside the UFC. He was a late replacement for Martin Kampmann.
- Anderson Silva vs. Rich Franklin 2 - This time, Silva was defending the middleweight title against Franklin. Franklin did slightly better the second time around, making it to round two before succumbing to more knees and punches to hand Silva the victory by technical knockout.
- Rich Franklin vs. Matt Hamill - Franklin defeated the highly-touted wrestler Hamill by technical knockout due to a punishing kick delivered straight to the liver following up with punches.
- Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson - The fight was to decide the American coach for the ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show. The fight-ending decision was a controversial one.
- Wanderlei Silva vs. Rich Franklin - The fight was fought at a 195-pound catchweight agreed on by both fighters as Wanderlei Silva was heading down to middleweight (185 pounds) and Franklin wanted to stay at light-heavyweight (205 pounds).
- Forrest Griffin vs. Rich Franklin - Both men were coming off a long layoff.
- Cung Le vs. Rich Franklin