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ASU's 50 Best Professional Athletes: No. 32 Dan "The Beast" Severn

Up next in our countdown of the 50 best professional athletes to attend ASU is a true MMA pioneer.

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Arizona State has a rich history of wrestlers and successful mixed martial artists, and that's who comes in next in our countdown: Dan "The Beast" Severn.

Before he went on to win more than 100 MMA bouts, Severn was an elite amateur Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestler. Severn was a two-time national champion at the high school level and then became a two-time All-American at ASU, where he was inducted into the the school's wrestling hall of fame.

Severn was an alternate on the 1980, 1984 and 1988 Olympic teams. He competed as an amateur after finishing his career at ASU, winning 13 National AAU wrestling titles in that time.

In 1994, Severn entered the Ultimate Fighting Championships for the first time. He made it all the way to finals of UFC 4 before falling to MMA legend Royce Gracie via a triangle choke.

He competed in several UFC events afterward as well, including a couple bouts with Ken Shamrock. After winning UFC's Ultimate Ultimate in 1995, which included finalists from past competitions, Severn earned a rematch and title shot against Shamrock.

His fight against Shamrock in UFC 9 is considered one of the worst fights ever due to a special rule that prohibited closed-fist striking.

Severn also had a decorated career in professional wrestling in Japan and America. He is best known for his time with the National Wrestling Alliance and World Wrestling Federation. Severn earned NWA World Heavyweight Championship in 1995 to become the first and only person to hold an MMA and professional wrestling championship at the same time.

At UFC 52, Severn was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. He trained and mentored several notable fighters, including Rashad Evans and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.

Severn was the original Sunkist Kid, a wrestling club that has produced more Olympic, World and National champions than any other wrestling club in the United States.

On April 16, 2011, Severn earned his 100th victory in MMA. He still competes to this day and was scheduled to take on Tank Abbott in March of this year, but the fight never happened because Abbott suffered an injury in training.

Severn is closing in on a quarter-century of competing, and that's amazing in itself.