Being so new, the UFC Hall of Fame is missing a lot of names. Dan Henderson being the most infuriating for me. One such name that MMA fans swear needs to be included in the hall is the late Kevin Randleman. I’m here to tell you why that’s not the case.
Point #1: Quality Wins
Kevin Randleman has literally one great win in his MMA career. He knocked out Cro Cop in 2004 at Pride: Total Elimination. While he was the heavyweight champion with a title defense, he never beat the champ. He lost to Bas Rutten via split decision for the vacant strap. When he did win the belt, he beat Pete Williams, who was a good fighter, but not someone you would define a career by defeating. His title defense is a little better. Pedro Rizzo beat some really good fighters. But Randleman didn’t beat Andrei Arlovski, Dan Severn or Josh Barnett.
MMA Math doesn’t work like that. You have to go out and beat these guys. Kevin Randleman beating Pedro Rizzo doesn’t automatically give him a win over Arlovski and such. That’s like saying Karo Parisyan is better than Georges St-Pierre because he beat Matt Serra.
Randleman’s lone great win was a stunning knockout of Cro Cop, as mentioned earlier. Randleman was such an underdog in that fight, winning it was certainly a Hall of Fame moment. But in the very same year, Cro Cop would avenge that loss in only 42 seconds.
Point #2: Kevin Randleman Never Rose To The Occasion
Being considered an all time great requires a fighter rising to the occasion. Can you imagine Georges St-Pierre losing the rematch against Matt Serra? It wouldn’t be very handy for his legacy. Instead, GSP executed and dominated Serra.
Randleman, with two exceptions, never rose to that occasion. Those two exceptions weren’t enough given the amount of chances he was given.
Randleman has lost big fights to Bas Rutten, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Rampage, Sakuraba, Fedor, Shogun Rua, and Roger Gracie. All giant fights that he came up short in.
Then his best win, Cro Cop, was avenged quickly as well. Randleman failed to execute on the biggest stage.
Point #3: Nostalgia Doesn’t Belong In The Hall
Let’s face it, everyone just likes Randleman because of the nostalgia aspect. He fought in the “real days” of the UFC and MMA. He fought in Pride which is an obsession of fans. But nostalgia alone shouldn’t get you into the UFC Hall of Fame.
Much like when Darrell Kile of the St. Louis Cardinals passing away suddenly, he was put on the Cooperstown Hall of Fame ballot. He was not elected into the hall, the stats simply weren’t there.
While Kevin Randleman has had some Hall of Fame moments in his career, and plenty of fun fights, he just doesn’t have the resume to put himself in the hall.
It is okay for fans to love a fighter who isn’t the elite of the elite. Hell, my favorite fighter is Cowboy Cerrone, I feel that deeply. Kevin Randleman is a fantastic fighter and probably a pioneer of the sport, but is he Hall of Fame material? The numbers say no.
Your friendly neighborhood fight fan. I watch way too many fights and my wife lets me know it.