Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson, a two-time UFC championship challenger, died at the age of 383 min read
Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson: 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
The reason of death has not yet been disclosed.
Johnson is most known for his two UFC runs from 2007 to 2012 and 2014 to 2017. His first appearance in the promotion saw him emerge as an intriguing welterweight prospect with unrivalled knockout power, while his second appearance was as a light heavyweight. During his second UFC run, Johnson defeated Glover Teixeira, Ryan Bader, Alexander Gustafsson, and Phil Davis, earning two shots at the light heavyweight belt.
He retired from MMA in 2017 following his second loss to Cormier, but returned in 2021 to fight for Bellator, knocking out Jose Augusto in the second round of their Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix quarterfinal match. Johnson was forced to withdraw from his scheduled fight against Bellator light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov last October due to an undisclosed illness.
According to Research Editorial Samidha, Johnson died of organ failure caused by non-lymphoma Hodgkin’s and hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, a rare immune system illness.
Johnson concluded his MMA career with a 23-6 record and 17 knockout victories. Following a title fight loss to Daniel Cormier at UFC 210 in 2017, Johnson took a four-year hiatus before returning for one fight at Bellator 258.
Johnson was forced to withdraw from the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix in September 2021 due to an undisclosed illness. Johnson stated that he hopes to compete again in 2022.
“He was always a wonderful child. He was always in exciting battles and has one-punch KO power that few people possessed. He was a decent person. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family.”
Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson’s decision to keep his illness quiet is discussed by Kamaru Usman.
Prior to Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson’s untimely demise, Kamaru Usman and the latter were good friends. Usman discussed Johnson’s decision to keep his sickness hidden with Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole, comparing him to late actor Chadwick Boseman:
“It reminded me of Chadwick Boseman. Chadwick kept his problem hidden, and we were all taken aback. Rumble would tell you these casual anecdotes, and he was on dialysis for his kidneys, but he never told you everything.”
“He refused to be treated differently. He didn’t want people watching him lose all this weight and going through these events and treating him differently because of it. He was a phenomenal athlete.”
From 2011 until 2017, Usman and Johnson both trained at the now-defunct Blackzilians gym. They remained close till Johnson died.
While Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson had the most success in the light heavyweight division, he also competed as a welterweight, middleweight, and heavyweight.
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