Kevin Randleman to be inducted into UFC Hall of Fame

Kevin Randleman (Photo by Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Kevin Randleman (Photo by Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images) /

Former UFC heavyweight champion and MMA legend Kevin Randleman will be joining the 2020 UFC Hall of Fame class.

One of the most classic wrestlers and competitors in MMA, Kevin Randleman, is the latest to be announced as part of the UFC Hall of Fame Class of 2020.

Randleman, who will be inducted into the Pioneer wing, was a former UFC heavyweight champion and NCAA Division-I wrestling champion, as well as a competitor in promotions such as PRIDE and Strikeforce.

“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.”

Randleman attended Ohio State, where he was a member of the wrestling team, with one of his coaches being Mark Coleman, who became the first UFC heavyweight champion in 1996. Randleman won 42 straight matches in his freshman year until losing the NCAA tournament final, and then went undefeated and winning the national title in his sophomore year. He’d win the NCAA title again in his junior year before becoming academically ineligible for his senior year, but he’d be named Ohio State’s Wrestler of the Century.

Randleman then joined MMA on the invitation of Coleman, winning the Universal Vale Tudo Fighting 4 tournament and finishing as the UVTF 6 runner-up.

Randleman joined the UFC in 1999, defeating Maurice Smith in the Road to the Heavyweight Title Tournament semifinals at UFC 19 before a controversial loss to Bas Rutten at UFC 20.

Randleman eventually claimed the heavyweight championship at UFC 23 with a win over Pete Williams. He’d retain against Pedro Rizzo at UFC 26 but lost the gold to Randy Couture at UFC 28. Randleman competed just two more times in the UFC — losing to Chuck Liddell and defeating Renato Sobral — before eventually going over to PRIDE.

Randleman didn’t have a winning record in PRIDE but scored one of MMA’s biggest upsets there, knocking out Mirko Filipovic (aka Mirko Cro Cop) in just two minutes at PRIDE Total Elimination 2004 in April 2004.

Randleman will join Georges St-Pierre and Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson I for the UFC Hall of Fame Class of 2020.

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