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5 Things You Might Not Know About Bas Rutten


Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream the UFC, PFL, Dana White’s Contender Series and “The Ultimate Fighter” live on your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.

Bas Rutten ranks as one of the sport’s most recognizable personalities, his competitive exploits often overshadowed by what he has accomplished behind the microphone or in front of the camera.

Born on Feb. 24, 1965, the Tilburg, Netherlands, native completed his career in 2006 with a 28-4-1 record that saw him finish 24 of his 28 victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission. Along the way, Rutten helped walk mixed martial arts through its infancy, captured championships and built a legion of fans who remain loyal to this day. More than a decade after he hung up the gloves for good, his presence can still be felt through his work as a television analyst, actor and entrepreneur.

With Rutten’s place among the immortals long since secured, here are five things you might not know about him:

1. He bloomed late.


El Guapo” made his professional mixed martial arts debut at the age of 28 on Sept. 21, 1993. He knocked out Ryushi Yanagisawa with a palm strike just 43 seconds into their encounter under the Pancrase banner in Urayasu, Japan. It was one of only two sub-minute stoppage victories in Rutten’s career. The other took place in 1996, when he needed 54 seconds to submit Manabu Yamada with an ankle lock at Pancrase Truth 7.

2. Gold was part of the package.


Rutten held titles in two organizations: Pancrase and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He laid claim to the openweight King of Pancrase championship on Sept. 1, 1995, successfully defending it on two occasions, and captured the UFC heavyweight crown on May 7, 1999, vacating it with his retirement soon after.

Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream the UFC, PFL, Dana White’s Contender Series and “The Ultimate Fighter” live on your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.

3. His stay at the pinnacle was brief but memorable.


The Dutchman made only two appearances inside the Octagon. Rutten put away Tsuyoshi Kosaka with punches in the first round of their UFC 18 pairing on Jan. 8, 1999, then won the vacant heavyweight title with a split decision over Kevin Randleman in the UFC 20 main event a little less than four months later. He was inducted into the pioneer wing of the UFC Hall of Fame in 2015.

4. He left on his terms.


Rutten closed the book on his hall-of-fame career with a remarkable 22-fight unbeaten streak that saw him go 21-0-1 between April 8, 1995 and July 22, 2006. The lone blemish in that stretch was a majority draw with Osami Shibuya at Pancrase Alive 3 in March 1997. Rutten went on to submit Shibuya with a body crunch in their rematch the following September.

5. A sturdy chin served him well.


The former UFC and Pancrase champion never suffered a knockout defeat in his 33-fight career. His only losses resulted from a majority decision against Frank Shamrock and submissions to Masakatsu Funaki and Ken Shamrock (twice). Advertisement
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