Bas Rutten is a Dutch retired MMA legend, Karate and Taekwondo blackbelt, and Muay Thai kickboxer. He was a UFC Heavyweight Champion, a three-time King of Pancrase world champion, and finished his career on a 22 fight unbeaten streak (21 wins, 1 draw). He is currently the star of Punk Payback on Fuel TV and co-host of Inside MMA on AXS.TV.
As a professional fighter, one of his favorite tactics was the liver shot (both punch and kick), and he popularized its use in MMA. Rutten is known for his charisma and has capitalized on his celebrity status since retiring from fighting in 1999. He has worked as a color commentator in several MMA organizations, including Pride, and has appeared in numerous television shows, movies, and video games. He also coaches MMA and has authored several instructional materials.
One of his biggest regrets is that he never faced the mythical Rickson Gracie.
He told Fighter’s Only all about it:
Is there one fighter you never faced off against, but wished you had?
“Rickson Gracie. At the time every one was saying he was the greatest so I actually challenged him. People twisted the whole thing and tried to say it was because I didn’t like him. But I had nothing against him, I just wanted to find out who was the best.
“And I would have loved another rematch against Ken [Shamrock], after improving my ground skills. It almost happened in Pride, and I would have come out of retirement, but he declined. He said we’d already done it twice and didn’t need a third.”
At the time of Rickson’s peek, every top MMA fighter wanted a piece of him. He was supposed to fight Kazushi Sakuraba in a mega MMA extravaganza but the same year Rickson’s son Rockson passed away and that was the end of his fighting career.