5 Things You Might Not Know About Cole Konrad

Cole Konrad was the rare competitor who walked away at the peak of his powers.

“The Polar Bear” compiled a perfect 9-0 record during a career that spanned a little more than two years and featured his reign as undisputed Bellator MMA heavyweight champion. Konrad won all nine of his bouts by knockout, technical knockout, submission or unanimous decision. He made his final appearance at Bellator 70, where he put away Eric Prindle with a kimura and retained his heavyweight crown just 60 seconds into their May 25, 2012 encounter.

Now nearly a decade removed from Konrad’s surprising retirement, here are five things you might not know about him:

1. He was a superstar in the singlet.

Konrad was a four-time NCAA All-American at the University of Minnesota, where he won back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007. He finished his career with the Golden Gophers with a 155-13 record. Konrad still ranks second on the school’s all-time wins list, third in pins (50) and fourth in winning percentage (.922). He rattled off a school-record 76 consecutive victories between Nov. 12, 2005 and March 17, 2007.

2. An off-the-grid start launched his career.

“The Polar Bear” made his first appearance as a professional mixed martial artist at a Max Fights event Jan. 23, 2010 in Fargo, North Dakota. Despite his collegiate pedigree, Konrad was placed fourth from the bottom on the card and submitted Gary Hamen with a neck crank in just 67 seconds. He competed at a Matrix Fights show a little more than a month later, then signed a free-agent contract with Bellator.

3. He was the first of his kind.

Konrad went 2-0 in Bellator before entering its Season 3 heavyweight tournament in August 2010. He rattled off three straight wins—his run culminated with a keylock submission of Neil Grove in the final—to become the organization’s heavyweight championship. Konrad held the title for 699 days.

4. He took a bow at the top of his game.

The Appleton, Wisconsin, native announced his retirement from MMA on Sept. 12, 2012. Just 28 years old at the time, Konrad quit the sport as an undefeated champion. He procured seven of his nine wins in Bellator, having beaten Prindle, Grove, Paul Buentello, Damian Grabowski, Rogent Lloret, John Orr and Pat Bennett.

5. Life after fighting as treated him well.

A married father of three, the 37-year-old Konrad now works as an agricultural commodities broker at Viking Dairy Company in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, just outside of Minneapolis.


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