Bas Rutten, a former UFC heavyweight champion, will be inducted into the Pioneer Era wing of the UFC Hall of Fame this July.
Rutten joined the UFC after dominating in Japan’s Pancrase for years, winning the heavyweight title with a victory over Kevin Randleman in 1999. He joins the likes of Dan Severn, Chuck Liddell and Royce Gracie in the honor roll.
UFC president Dana White surprised Rutten with the announcement during Friday night’s episode of “Inside MMA.”
“I never expected to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame,” Rutten said. “I won the UFC heavyweight title, but injuries cut my UFC run short. Most of my big wins were in Japan. I saw the new UFC Hall of Fame format and I thought maybe I could get in eventually as a Contributor because of my years of commentating. But I’m so honored that the UFC recognized what I did as a fighter.”
Rutten, who holds black belts in Karate, Taekwondo, Judo, Kickboxing, Muay Thai and Krav, went 28-4-1 in his MMA career and 14-2 over 16 pro kickboxing bouts. He didn’t lose a fight over his last 11 years in MMA, including a TKO victory over Ruben Villareal in his final bout in 2006.