Former UFC light-heavyweight title contender Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson has died after a long battle with illness.
He was 38 years old.
MMA Fighting has confirmed the news with sources with knowledge of the situation, following an outpouring of messages on social media regarding Johnson’s death.
Anthony Rumble Johnson: Cause of death
Johnson’s cause of death is yet to be announced.
In 2021, the ex-fighter was due to fight for the Bellator light-heavyweight title but pulled out due to a health issue.
The health problem persisted over the past year and his manager Ali Abdelaziz had asked fans as recently as last month to ‘pray’ for the fighter.
It was confirmed Saturday evening that the UFC star had lost his battle with the illness.
Who was Anthony Rumble Johnson?
Anthony Kewoa Johnson was an American mixed martial artist.
He competed for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, where he was a multiple time title challenger, and Bellator MMA in the light heavyweight division.
He was mainly known by his nickname, Rumble, which he was given because of his one-punch knockout power.
Johnson made his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 10, knocking out Chad Reiner just thirteen seconds into the first round.
He had taken the fight on less than a week’s notice, replacing an injured Steve Bruno, who had torn his rotator cuff.
He was the #1 ranked light heavyweight contender in official UFC rankings, and was ranked #2 in the world by Sherdog and ESPN.
He announced his retirement after a 2017 title fight loss to Daniel Cormier, but returned to competition in 2021 and fought once for Bellator, defeating Jose Augusto by second-round knockout.
In October 2021, Johnson was to fight Bellator light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov as part of a grand prix tournament, but was forced to withdraw from that contest due to an undisclosed illness.
Johnson’s pro MMA record was 23-6 with 17 wins coming by way of KO/TKO.