Cheick Kongo has been fighting MMA since 2001 compiling a career record of 16-6-2 in the sport since. He is hoping that experience will help carry him past Matt Mitrione when the two heavyweights meet in the co-main event of UFC 137 Saturday night from Las Vegas, Nevada.
Kongo is 2-0-1 in his last three fights, working past a two-fight losing streak to current UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez and former UFC title-holder Frank Mir. The 36-year-old is currently training with Quinton Jackson at the Wolfslair MMA Academy in England.
While “Meathead” presents another great challenge, having won all five of his MMA fights since his stint on The Ultimate Fighter 10, Kongo is planning on not letting Mitrione further make a name for himself this weekend.
“Everyone gets a chance to face someone famous. It’s a good thing for him. Matt is a likable guy and has done well so far; I respect him as a fighter and expect for him to give a good fight,” said Kongo, in a recent interview with UFC’s website. “Ultimately, he’s going to be ready for the bout. I’ve fought for so many years and been so careful. I learn a lot from my last mistakes and I will do my best.”
Kongo seemed to be well on his way to possibly fighting for the UFC title before Velasquez earned a decision victory over him in 2009. The Mir loss came later that year but Kongo has gotten himself back on track since by defeating Paul Buentello and Pat Barry.
“If I get the chance to fight (for the title), I would be happy,” Kongo said. “I know the line is very long, but hopefully, yes, I would like to fight for the belt as soon as possible.”
“Rampage” Jackson, who is working alongside Kongo, it excited for the fight, saying, “Matt brings it and Kongo ain’t scared to bring it.”
On the subject of coming into every fight with the goal of finishing a foe, Kongo is approaching Mitrione in the same way, making a bold prediction on the outcome of this weekend’s offering.
“I came here to win and I will win. I’m going to knock him out,” Kongo concluded on the match-up with Mitrione.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC