This July, the UFC will be honoring one of its pioneers. During Saturday’s second Jacksonville show, it was announced that the late Kevin Randleman will be immortalized in the UFC’s Hall-of-Fame.
After his collegiate success as an All-American NCAA Division I wrestler, winning two national titles at Ohio State, “The Monster” went into mixed martial arts in 1996. Just three years after he turned pro, he was signed into the UFC and immediately fought for the heavyweight belt after just two months. He became champion after defeating fellow legend Bas Rutten, but lost it to Randy Couture after one successful title defense.
In 2002, Randleman took his talents to the far east under the Pride banner in Japan, where he held notable victories against Murilo “Ninja” Rua and a famous KO of Mirko Cro Cop. It was unfortunately followed by a string of losses to the likes of Fedor Emelianenko, Ninja’s brother “Shogun” Rua, and a rematch to Mirko Cro Cop.
Randleman continued his career until the age of 40, last competing in 2011. He tragically passed away due to a heart attack at age 44 in February 2016, after being hospitalized for pneumonia.
Randleman ended his fighting career with a record of 17-16 (with nine wins by knockout), but the record doesn’t do justice to how good he was and how much he meant to the sport as a whole.