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Former UFC, Bellator MMA fighter Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson passes away at 38

Johnson challenged for UFC gold twice.
Anthony Johnson

Former UFC and Bellator MMA title contender Anthony "Rumble" Johnson has passed away at 38 years old.

The reason for his death is unknown other than that he was battling an illness "for quite some time" according to Ariel Helwani.

Johnson last fought for Bellator MMA in May 2021, knocking out Jose Augusto Azevedo Barros in the second round of their light heavyweight Grand Prix. He had to withdraw due to illness.

Johnson was mainly known for two UFC runs, the last of which ended in an unsuccessful challenge of then-light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in April 2017.

Career-wise, Johnson began his UFC run early in his career, winning by knockout in just his fourth career bout. Fighting as a welterweight, Johnson had considerable issues with weight cuts that caused several of them to be catchweight fights instead.

After a loss to Vitor Belfort in January 2012, he was cut and fought for World Series of Fighting, Titan FC and another promotion before returning in April 2014.

After three straight wins, he was unsuccessful in defeating Cormier for the vacant light heavyweight title in their first meeting. A three fight, three knockout win streak earned him the second Cormier fight. 

After that, he retired for several years before returning for the aforementioned Bellator fight.

In 2014, Johnson was briefly suspended due to an investigation regarding suspected domestic abuse against the mother of his two children. He was reinstated after just two months after a civil case against him was dropped.