FORMER UFC fighter Anthony Johnson has died after a long battle with illness.
The 38-year-old was known as one of the best knockout artists during his fighting days and earned some big wins against high-level opponents inside and outside the octagon.
At his prime, ‘Rumble’ managed knockout victories against former light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira and Alexander Gustafsson.
Tributes have poured in for Johnson, with American MMA fighter Michael Chiesa tweeting: “RIP Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson. One of the most prolific KO artists our sport has ever seen.
“My prayers go out to his family and everyone affected by this tragedy.”
Daniel Cormier, a former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight fighter, said: “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.”
UFC commentator John Gooden added: “Heart breaking to learn of the tragic news that Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson has passed away.
“I have a poster of him by my desk looking powerful. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
He was scheduled to fight for the Bellator light-heavyweight title last September but pulled out due to his health.
Earlier this year, Johnson’s manager Ali Abdelaziz revealed that his problems with illness were getting worse and that people should pray for his well-being.
Abdelaziz said in an ESPN interview: “Rumble, he’s going through some health problems right now. It’s very sad.
“I think, I want everybody to pray for him. Pray for Anthony. It’s not going well. He’s very strong, spiritually. But pray for him.”
He had partly explained to his fans that he was struggling with his health in a social media post that read: “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.
“Never been this afraid of anything in my life but I’ve remained strong with the support of friends and family.”