The first-ever UFC Heavyweight Champion and PRIDE FC Grand Prix Champion, Mark Coleman (15-8), is rumored to be up for induction into the Hall of Fame at UFC 82: "Pride of a Champion" on March 1 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Coleman is a former NCAA collegiate wrestling champion from Ohio State University and 1992 U.S. Olympian. He transitioned from wrestling to mixed martial arts (MMA) with his Octagon debut at UFC 10: "The Tournament" in 1996. He went on to defeat Moti Horenstein, Gary Goodridge and Don Frye in the same night.
In fact, all three fights ended early. And it was largely because of his takedowns and relentless punishment from the top position. He is widely believed to be the inventor of the oh-so-popular "ground and pound."
"The Hammer" is now a popular professional wrestler in Japan and is still hanging on to a potential return to MMA action.
Despite all of his success, Coleman has also endured his share comedic and fighting misfortune.
His brutal knockout loss to Pete Williams at UFC 17 is a classic, making the destructions of Sean Salmon, Mirko Cro Cop and Jordan Radev last year look like child's play. And who can forget his celebration after winning the PRIDE FC 2000 Grand Prix, which saw him bust his ass attempting to leap on the top rope.
The post-fight drama — ripped right from a bad Hollywood script — after losing to Fedor Emelianenko via armbar at PRIDE 32 is also a classic.
Regardless, Coleman is a pioneer in the sport. It'd be fitting to see him honored alongside trailblazers such as Randy Couture, Dan Severn, Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie.
Especially since it would be in front of his hometown crowd in the "Buckeye State."