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Anthony Johnson: MMA world mourns sudden death of former star

Former UFC star Anthony Johnson

The MMA world is mourning the sudden death of Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson at just 38 years of age.

Rumble was one of the hardest hitters to grace an octagon and twice fought for the UFC light heavyweight belt against Daniel Cormier in 2015 and 2017. Johnson lost both bouts via rear naked choke, Cormier smart enough to take his opponent to the mat and stifle his ferocious power.

Those that did attempt to stand and strike with Johnson were liable to a thumping right hand that could separate a man from his consciousness. Rumble knocked out former title contender Alexander Gustaffson, effectively ending his competitive career; ranked contender Jimi Manuwa; future Bellator champ Ryan Bader; and future UFC champion Glover Teixeira. Had he not encountered Cormier, Johnson would have almost certainly won UFC gold himself.

Johnson stepped away from prize fighting in 2017 to pursue business opportunities including a CDB oil company. He returned to the ring when signing with Bellator in 2021, where he fought once, knocking out José Augusto Azevedo in typical fashion.

Johnson was a quietly spoken man who let his fists do the talking. He had several brushes with the law but will be mostly remembered for his prodigious punching power. He was a junior national college wrestling champion who then worked as a nightclub bouncer before finding his true calling in life.

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