The world of mixed martial arts (MMA) has lost a true legend, as Norifumi Yamamoto has passed away at the age of 41 after battling cancer.
“Kid” announced he was battling the disease on Aug. 26, 2018, though it isn’t exactly known how long the combat veteran had been fighting it prior to making it public. The devastating news of his passing was reported by his long-time gym, Krazybee, in Tokyo, Japan.
Soon thereafter, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White reacted to the tragic news.
RIP.... Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto pic.twitter.com/K8OJblm0ip— Dana White (@danawhite) September 18, 2018
Making his MMA debut in 2001 at age 24, Yamamoto quickly captured the hearts of combat fans worldwide, especially in his native Japan, winning 17 of his first 19 professional fights. And he was allergic to decisions, winning 12 of those bouts via knockout, two by way of submission with only three going the distance.
Competing most of his career in “The Land of the Rising Sun” under the Shooto, K-1, Hero’s and DREAM banners, “Kid” eventually made his way stateside to compete for UFC, with his first fight taking place at UFC 126 in 2011 against none other than former Flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson. After three rounds of action, “Mighty Mouse” had done enough to impress all three judges.
Unfortunately for “Kid,” he never picked up his much-desired win inside the Octagon, going 0-3 with one “no contest.” His last fight at UFC 184 back in 2015 against Roman Salazar ended in the “no contest” because of an accidental eye poke on “Kid’s" behalf.
Still, Yamamoto had already left his mark in the world of MMA by then, as he was one of the most beloved Japanese stars to ever compete in the sport thanks to his aggressive fighting style, which more often than not resulted in a stoppage victory for him.
Some of his most impressive victories came against Royler Gracie, Caol Uno and Genki Sudo to win the Hero’s Lightweight Grand Prix back in 2005. He also scored a victory over current ONE bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes. Furthermore, he holds the record for fastest knockout in MMA history after stopping Kazuyuki Miyata in just four seconds via flying knee. All told, “Kid” competed in the lightweight, featherweight and bantamweight divisions and amassed an 18-6-2 mark over 14 years of action, including winning 14 in a row from 2002 to 2007.
We at MMAmania.com would like to extend our deepest condolences to all of his friends and family during this difficult time.