Former UFC Knockout Artist Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson Passes Away at 38-yo; Pros React

Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson passed away at just 38 years old

Anthony Rumble Johnson
Credit: Fight Oracle (via Twitter)

Former UFC two-time title challenger Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson has passed away at just 38.

Johnson first gained attention after beating Chad Reiner in his UFC debut in Jun. 2007. He quickly established himself as a lethal knockout artist in the welterweight division. After five years in the most elite mixed martial arts fight promotion, Johnson took to other organizations such as Titan FC and World Series of Fighting.

Former UFC Knockout Artist Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson dead at 38

He returned for a second run in the UFC that spanned over three years between 2014-17. Johnson moved up two divisions to compete as a light heavyweight and racked up notable wins over former champions, including Glover Teixeira, Ryan Bader, Alexander Gustafsson, and Phil Davis. He also challenged for the 205-pound gold on two occasions.

‘Rumble’ decided to hang up his gloves after a title fight defeat to former two-division champion Daniel Cormier. However, he made his comeback after a four-year hiatus to compete under the Bellator banner, where he beat Jose Augusto via knockout. He was lined up to face Bellator light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov in a grand prix contest, but pulled out due to an undisclosed illness.

MMA community reacts to Johnson’s passing

Reactions from the MMA community came flooding in after news broke about the sudden passing of  ‘Rumble’ Johnson.

Mikey Thomas took to Twitter: “Rip an MMA Legend ‘Rumble’ Anthony Johnson [1984-2022].”

UFC lightweight Terrance McKinney wrote, “Rumble Johnson passed away. The MMA community lost a legend and I will continue to pray for his family.”

MMA outlet BJPenn.com tweeted, “RIP Rumble.”

Reporter Alex Behunin wrote: “Rest In Peace Rumble.”

UFC welterweight Michael Chiesa took to Twitter: “RIP Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. One of the most prolific KO artists our sport has ever seen. My prayers go out to his family and everyone affected by this tragedy. ”

Fight Oracle commented: “Rest in Peace Anthony Rumble Johnson.”

Prolific MMA manager Ali Abdelaziz weighed in: “I’m heartbroken right now.”

Bellator MMA issued a statement on the passing of Johnson: “It is with great sadness we acknowledge the passing of Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. The BELLATOR family is devastated by his untimely passing and we send our condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

Former MMA world champion Josh Thompson wrote, “Life is never fair … gone way to soon. I’m going to miss you brother.”

Former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping commented: “Utterly shocked and saddened by this. RIP. Sincere condolences to all his family and loved ones.”

Former two-division champion Daniel Cormier weighed in: “Rest Easy my brother. For a guy who struck fear in so many peoples heart Anthony Johnson was a caring person. From random text to check ins during loss. What a person he was, Rumble will be missed. Sometimes life doesn’t seem fair. Horrible news #RIP #Rumblesquad @Anthony_Rumble.”

Renowned docu-series filmmaker Will Harris wrote, “Honestly I am holding in my tears, but I am sure they will flow when I least expect it. You were like a superhero to me when I first came around the blackzilians in 2016. You just told me you would make it through this . We will miss you.”

Former UFC two-division champion Henry Cejudo tweeted: “Rest in peace Rumble Johnson.”

Bellator & Showtime color commentator Big John McCarthy wrote, “Crushed and devastated to learn that @Anthony_Rumble has passed away. AJ was one of the good guys, he was a great man with a huge heart. God Bless you AJ, I will miss you my brother. RIP Rumble.”

Esteemed MMA journalist Ariel Helwani weighed in, writing, “Horrible news: Anthony “Rumble” Johnson passed away today. He was 38 years old. Johnson had been battling an illness for quite some time. One of the hardest hitters and most talented fighters in MMA history. Gone way too soon. May he rest in peace.”

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