The UFC recently unveiled a new structure to their Hall Of Fame which includes four distinct categories and they’ve now unveiled who’ll be inducted into each wing this July during International Fight Week in Las Vegas.
First up, heading into the ‘Modern Era’ wing will be former lightweight champion BJ Penn.
“It is our honor to induct BJ Penn into the UFC Hall of Fame,” UFC President Dana White stated in a press release. “He was one of those stars who helped build the UFC. When we bought this company, we were told no-one cared about lightweights. BJ Penn not only made people care, he was one of the biggest draws in UFC history. And what he accomplished inside the Octagon speaks for itself – he is one of only two people to win two UFC titles in two different divisions and he beat a who’s who of his era. He is a legend and a no-brainer for the UFC Hall of Fame.”
Meanwhile, Bas Rutten will be added to the ‘Pioneer Wing’ of the UFC’s Hall Of Fame.
“I won the UFC heavyweight title, but injuries cut my UFC run short,” fan favorite Rutten stated on the Inside MMA show after Dana White unexpectedly told him he’d be getting inducted. “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.”
The first encounter to enter the new ‘Fight’ wing will be the classic 2005 welterweight encounter between Matt Hughes and Frank Trigg.
“I’ve said it a million times over the last 10 years, Hughes vs Trigg II is one of my favorite fights ever,” White said. “In four minutes five seconds, it showed everything that is great about the UFC.”
And finally, the late Jeff Blatnick will be inducted into the ‘Contributor’ wing of the HOF.
Blatnick was a UFC commentator in the pre-Zuffa era from UFC 4 to UFC 32 and also helped establish the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts.