Kevin Randleman was truly “the monster” in his fights, and now he is a member of the UFC Hall of Fame.
Saturday night, the former wrestler who became UFC heavyweight champion was announced as the last inductee in the class of 2020.
Randleman made his UFC debut in 1999 after transitioning to MMA after a successful career at Ohio State University, where he was double national champion. He had an immediate impact in his debut with a victory over kickboxing legend Maurice Smith.
While he lost a controversial decision shared with Bas Rutten on his next outing, Randleman’s dream of becoming UFC heavyweight champion came true one fight later with a punitive performance against Pete Williams.
After leaving the UFC in 2002, Randleman became a member of the PRIDE Combat Championships roster, where he was a mainstay for several years. It was there that he achieved one of the biggest upheavals in the history of promotion by eliminating Mirko Cro Cop in the first round of the PRIDE heavyweight Grand Prix.
Unfortunately, Randleman died of a heart attack in 2016 after being hospitalized for pneumonia. He was survived by his wife and four children.
“Kevin Randleman was one of the first real athletes to start the UFC,” said UFC President Dana White in a statement. “He was a two-time NCAA Division I national champion and a Pan American wrestler at Ohio State University. He was the fifth heavyweight champion in UFC history and one of the first athletes to successfully compete in both the heavy and light heavyweights.
“He was a pioneer in the sport and it is an honor to induct him into the UFC Hall of Fame class of 2020.”