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Randleman to be welcomed into UFC Hall of Fame

Kevin Randleman, Ohio State wrestling great who went on to be one of the greats as a professional mixed martial arts fighter, was announced for induction into the Pioneer Wing of the UFC Hall of Fame Saturday night.

The announcement was made during UFC Fight Night 176 to honor Randleman into the Pioneer Wing which honors the original innovators of MMA.

Kevin Randleman
"Kevin Randleman was one of the first real athletes in the early days of UFC," UFC President Dana White said Saturday. "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."

The 2020 UFC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place later this year and will be streamed live on UFC FIGHT PASS. Sadly, Randleman will not be able to participate at the event, as he passed away suddenly in February 2014 at age 44 due to complications from pneumonia. Randleman is survived by his wife and four children.

Born in August 1971 in Sandusky, Ohio on Lake Erie between Cleveland and Toledo, Kevin Christopher Randleman was a strong, versatile athlete with a chiseled physique coupled with speed and flexibility that served him well in athletics. He was a two-sport athlete at Sandusky High School who was a four-year starter on the Blue Streak football team, and went 122-11 as a wrestler for Sandusky, culminating in an Ohio Division I state championship as a senior in 1989.

Randleman then headed south to Ohio State, where he was a three-time Big Ten champ at 177 pounds and a three-time NCAA finalist, winning back-to-back titles in 1992 and 1993, becoming the first two-time national wrestling champ in the long history of Buckeye wrestling. Randleman was welcomed into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004.

Randleman launched his MMA career in October 1996, just as UFC was becoming the dominant force in pro mixed martial arts. Between March 1999 and Jan. 2002, the wrestler-turned-MMA star nicknamed "the Monster" went 4-3 in the UFC. Randleman captured the heavyweight title by beating Pete Williams in a unanimous decision at UFC 23 then defending it with another unanimous decision victory against Pedro Rizzo at UFC 26. Randleman then dropped the title in a TKO loss to Randy Couture at UFC 28.

Kevin Randleman was enshrined in the Ohio State Hall of Fame in 2004.

Want to know more about what Kevin Randleman's teammates and head coach Tom Ryan thought of their UFC star? Check out this InterMat tribute immediately after his death.

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