Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson, A UFC Fan Favorite, Dead At 38

“What a person he was ... sometimes life doesn’t seem fair," former UFC champ Daniel Cormier said.

Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, an MMA light heavyweight fighter who went 23-6 in his career mostly with UFC, has died. He was 38.

Bellator MMA announced Johnson’s death on social media on Sunday. A Bellator spokesman said Johnson had been ill for more than a year.

“The BELLATOR family is devastated by his untimely passing and we send our condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time,” the announcement said.

Anthony ''Rumble'' Johnson before a bout in 2014.
Anthony ''Rumble'' Johnson before a bout in 2014.
Jeff Bottari via Getty Images

During his career, Johnson had 17 knockouts and six victories by decision. His last fight was in May 2021.

In September 2021, Johnson posted on Instagram that he needed “as many prayers as I can get” and was in a battle, noting it was “NOT COVID.” On May 17, Johnson posted on Instagram that he had gotten good news from his doctor, saying there were “big improvements.”

Anthony Johnson kicks Daniel Cormier in their first UFC championship bout in 2015.
Anthony Johnson kicks Daniel Cormier in their first UFC championship bout in 2015.
Josh Hedges via Getty Images

Daniel Cormier, a two-time Olympian and MMA fighter, expressed his condolences online, saying “for a guy who struck fear into so many peoples (sic) heart (he) was a caring person.”

“From random text to check ins during loss,” Cormier said. “What a person he was ... sometimes life doesn’t seem fair.”

Johnson fought in the UFC from 2007 to 2017, most notably losing twice to Cormier in light heavyweight title bouts. Johnson competed in three weight classes for the UFC and established a reputation as a powerful puncher and a fan favorite for his aggressive, striking-based approach in MMA.

Johnson retired in 2017 from the UFC after his second title loss to Cormier, but he returned to competition with Bellator for one bout in 2021 before his health problems worsened.

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