MMA’s Greats of the States | Michigan: Dan Severn

By Mike Sloan Jun 27, 2016

Mixed martial artists come from every corner of the globe, bearing a variety of styles. Sometimes, fighters are products of their environment, favoring disciplines prevalent in the country or state from which they hail. Various regions of the United States are considered factories for great fighters, though that certainly is not the case with each state. In this weekly series, the spotlight will shine on the best mixed martial artist of all-time from each of the 50 states. Fighters do not necessarily need to be born in a given state to represent it; they simply need to be associated with it.


Dan Severn may have looked like an overblown Freddie Mercury, but he was no joke inside the cage.

Born on June 8, 1958, “The Beast” was one of the original stars during the early days of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He made his promotional debut at UFC 4, where he reached the final of an eight-man tournament before succumbing to a Royce Gracie triangle choke after more than 15 minutes of battle. Severn returned to the Octagon at UFC 5, winning that tournament with consecutive victories over Joe Charles, Oleg Taktarov and Dave Beneteau. His triumph in the eight-man draw at the Ultimate Ultimate 1995 eight months later made him one of five men -- Gracie, Mark Coleman, Don Frye and Mark Kerr are the others -- to win multiple UFC tournaments.

Upon leaving the UFC in 1997, Severn embarked on a remarkable journey that saw him fight 127 times and compile a record of 101-19-7. He recorded 77 finishes among his 101 wins, 60 of them via submission. The Coldwater, Michigan, native remained active into his 50s, retiring in 2013. Severn was and accomplished amateur wrestler -- he wrestled collegiately at Arizona State University -- prior to his entry into MMA, becoming a three-time alternate for the United States Olympic Team.

Severn was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame on April 16, 2005.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Joe Warren, Daron Cruickshank, Myles Jury, Jason Fischer, Kevin Lee


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