01 Jan Former heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman joins the UFC Hall of Fame
Kevin Randleman truly was “The Monster” in his fights, and now he’s a UFC Hall of Famer.
On Saturday night, the former wrestler turned UFC heavyweight champion was announced as the latest inductee of the class of 2020.
A true pioneer of the sport (B2YB @ToyoTires) pic.twitter.com/1eLUWamX2A
— UFC (@ufc) May 17, 2020
Randleman first debuted in the UFC back in 1999 after making his transition into MMA following a stellar career at Ohio State University, where he was a two-time national champion. He made an immediate impact in his debut with a win over kickboxing legend Maurice Smith.
While he lost a controversial split decision to Bas Rutten in his next outing, Randleman achieved his dream of becoming UFC heavyweight champion one fight later with a punishing performance against Pete Williams.
After leaving the UFC in 2002, Randleman became part of the roster at PRIDE Fighting Championships, where he was a mainstay for several years. It was there where he pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the promotion when he knocked out Mirko Cro Cop in the opening round of the PRIDE Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Sadly, Randleman died from a heart attack in 2016 after he had been admitted to a hospital with pneumonia. He was survived by his wife and four children.
“Kevin Randleman was one of the first real athletes in the early days of UFC,” UFC President Dana White said in a statement. “He was a two-time NCAA Division I National Champion and All-American wrestler at The Ohio State University. He was the fifth heavyweight champion in UFC history and one of the first athletes to successfully compete at both heavyweight and light heavyweight.
“He was a pioneer of the sport and it’s an honor to induct him into the UFC Hall of Fame Class of 2020.”