Late Friday night, it was announced former UFC heavyweight champion Bas Rutten (pictured) will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
Rutten joins Royce Gracie, Dan Severn and Chuck Liddell in the newly-revamped UFC Hall of Fame Pioneer Era wing.
Earlier this month, the UFC decided to change their Hall of Fame structure to include Modern era, Pioneers era, Contributors and Fight wings instead of just fighters (and one contributor).
“I never expected to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame,” Rutten said in the UFC’s press release. “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 will join UFC commentator Jeff Blatnick, who will enter the “Contributors” wing, and Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg II in the “Fight” wing in 2015’s Hall of Fame class.
Of Rutten’s 33 professional fights, only two under the UFC’s watch. Rutten captured the UFC heavyweight title in his second bout for the promotion, then vacated the crown in hopes of becoming the first-ever two-division champion in the UFC.
Unfortunately, the injury bug struck Rutten hard and he was forced to call it a career one fight later while compete for WFA.
All of Rutten’s fights prior to the UFC came in Japan’s Pancrase promotion.
The 2015 UFC Hall of Fame class will be inducted July 11 during the UFC Fan Expo in Las Vegas.