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Bas Rutten named to UFC Hall of Fame Pioneer wing

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Bas Rutten is the latest addition to the new-look UFC Hall of Fame.

The former UFC heavyweight champion and King of Pancrase was named to the Hall's Pioneer wing Friday night. UFC president Dana White surprised Rutten by telling him he was in during a segment on AXS-TV's Inside MMA, of which Rutten is a co-host.

The 50-year old Holland native made his name in Japan, where he fought everyone from Ken Shamrock to Frank Shamrock to Masakatsu Funaki to Minoru Suzuki under the Pancrase banner.

Rutten made his UFC debut in 1998 with a TKO win over Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, then defeated Kevin Randleman via split decision at UFC 20 to claim the heavyweight title.

That turned out to be the second-to-last match of Rutten's career, as he suffered several injuries in training, most notably knee and neck injuries. He returned for one final bout in 2006, defeating Ruben Villareal via TKO at the WFA: King of the Streets show at the Forum in Los Angeles. He retired with a record of 28-4-1, having gone unbeaten over his final 22 fights, and launched a second career as an MMA broadcaster.

"I never expected to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame," Rutten said. "I won the UFC heavyweight title, but injuries cut my UFC run short. 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."

Earlier this week, the UFC named Jeff Blatnick to the new Contributors wins and the legendary Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg encounter at UFC 52 to the Fight wing. This year's inductee to the modern era wing will be announced during the UFC 187 prelims.