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Heavyweight legend Kevin Randleman to be inducted to UFC Hall of Fame Class of 2020

Kevin Randleman, a former UFC heavyweight champion and superstar in PRIDE FC, has been announced as a 2020 UFC Hall of Fame inductee, entering as a part of the “Pioneer Wing.” The news was announced during the UFC on ESPN 8 main card broadcast.

Randleman was a hulking figure, with an action-star build that made him look the part when he made his Octagon debut at UFC 19 in March 1999. After beating former champ Maurice Smith in his UFC debut, Randleman suffered a highly controversial decision loss to Bas Rutten in a heavyweight championship fight at UFC 20.

“Kevin Randleman was one of the first real athletes in the early days of UFC,” UFC president Dana White said. “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.”

One fight later, Randleman defeated Pete Williams to win the now-vacant title and successfully defended the title against Pedro Rizzo before losing to Randy Couture. Randleman would move to light heavyweight before leaving the UFC for Japan’s famed PRIDE organization.

In PRIDE, Randleman revived his career and scored maybe his most iconic victory when he scored a shocking knockout of Mirko Cro Cop when Cro Cop was the most feared striker in the sport. Randleman would go 2-9 after the Cro Cop upset before retiring, but he had already cemented himself among the greats in the still-developing sport.

Randleman was admitted to the hospital in February 2016 due to pneumonia and suffered a fatal heart attack at just 44 years old. His final career record was 17-16.

EltasZone Sportswriters, Sports Analysts, Opinion columnists, editorials and op-eds. Analysis from The Zone Team
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