38-year-old Anthony Johnson, a Bellator fighter and two-time UFC title challenger, died.
Anthony Kewoa Johnson was born on March 6, 1984. He was an American mixed martial artist who spent most of his career competing for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where he was a multiple-time title challenger, before ending his career with a single fight with Bellator MMA.
He fought in the light heavyweight division. His nickname, Rumble, was mainly known because of his one-punch knockout power.
He was the number 1 light heavyweight contender in official UFC rankings and was ranked number 2 worldwide by Sherdog and ESPN before his retirement in April 2017. Johnson came out of retirement in May 2021, defeating Jose Augusto by knockout in the final fight of his life.
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 Johnson is best remembered for a pair of UFC stints from 2007-2012 and 2014-2017. His first run with the promotion saw him emerge as an intriguing welterweight prospect with unmatched knockout power, while his second run occurred as a light heavyweight. During Johnson’s second UFC run, he defeated the likes of Glover Teixeira, Ryan Bader, Alexander Gustafsson, and Phil Davis and earned two cracks at the light heavyweight championship.
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 from KO/TKO.