Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson's death leaves UFC world devastated

·5-min read
Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson is pictured smiling during a UFC training session.
Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson's death at 38 has left the UFC devastated, with the former fighter having only been diagnosed with cancer ion October last year. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The UFC community has been left in shock by the death of popular fighter Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson at the age of 38, due to complications from cancer.

Johnson reportedly passed away as a result of organ failure relating to his diagnosis with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on Sunday, leaving fans around the world devastated.

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Tributes have poured in for the former light heavyweight, middleweight and welterweight fighter, who boasted a 23-6 overall record in MMA competition.

Johnson shot to prominence during two stints with the UFC, the first from 2007 to 2012 in the welterweight division, and a second stint as a light heavyweight from 2014-2017.

The second stint was highlighted by two showdowns against UFC great Daniel Cormier, who posted a heartfelt tribute to Johnson reflecting on his demeanour away from the ring.

Known as a powerful striker capable of one-punch knockout power, Johnson was remembered by both rivals and MMA colleagues as an enlightening presence in the often brutal industry.

“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,” Cormier wrote on Twitter.

Johnson's illness was discovered after he was forced to abandon a championship tilt at the light heavyweight grand prix at Bellator 268 in October last year, later taking to Twitter to express the seriousness of what he was facing.

“Really wish I could go into detail about how ill I truly am. Just know I need as many prayers as I can get and I’ll see you in 2022 God willing,” Johnson wrote last year.

“Never been this afraid of anything in my life but I’ve remained strong with the support of friends and family.”

He scored 17 of his 23 MMA wins by knockout, and as he massively bulked up in his career, he kept his power with him. He twice challenged for the UFC light heavyweight title, losing to Cormier both times by rear naked choke.

Cormier defeated Johnson first at UFC 187 on May 23, 2015, for the vacant title that had been stripped from Jon Jones.

UFC world left devastated by passing of Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson

Johnson was a well-liked figure in the UFC world, and the response to his death from former rivals and fellow competitors was telling as to his standing in the industry.

Legendary UFC referee John McCarthy said Johnson was 'one of the good guys' in a tribute posted on social media.

“Crushed and devastated to learn that Anthony Johnson 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," McCarthy wrote.

His was one of hundreds of tributes online, with high-profile MMA reporter Ariel Helwani left shocked by what had happened.

“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," Helwani wrote, one of hundreds of tributes online.

Johnson was an engaging and soft-spoken man who as a fighter was known for his power, his incredibly large physique and for difficulty making weight. He scored wins over many iconic fighters and scored KO victories over ex-UFC light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira; Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader; Antonio Rogerio Nogueira; and Jimi Manuwa.

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is not considered a death sentence and is generally a treatable form of cancer. It is a disorder of the lymphatic system. Lymph nodes drain waste products and fluid from the body.

Together, the lymph nodes drain fluid and waste products from the body. The lymph nodes act as tiny filters, removing foreign organisms and cells. But in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, lymph node cells multiply uncontrollably and then invade other bodily tissues.

With Yahoo Sport US/Kevin Iole

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