Cheick Kongo Making One Final Run At Championship Gold

© Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports Cheick Kongo

By Shawn Smith

Through a thick French accent, Bellator heavyweight Cheick Kongo can be difficult to understand. Even so, it’s not hard to hear that despite his menacing, thick frame, he is a friendly, charming man that is generous with his time and appreciative of the attention.

In mixed martial arts’ premier division, Kongo has been a fringe contender for over a decade. Every time the punishing puncher gathered a little bit of notoriety in the UFC’s heavyweight division, a devastating loss to the likes of a Frank Mir or Cain Velasquez has pushed him back down to earth.

His recent run through the Bellator heavyweight division, including four straight victories and wins in six of his last seven, has been one of the best of his career. In an ultra-competitive heavyweight division, Kongo has only put together four-straight wins once before in his career.

On May 19 at Bellator 179, Kongo will serve in a feature bout on what promises to be one of the biggest cards in the promotion’s history. A win will give Kongo the first five-fight winning streak of his career and arguably put him in line for the Bellator heavyweight championship.

Unfortunately for Kongo and the rest of the fledgling heavyweights in the division, it’s been a weight class in flux for three years. After not having defended his world title since April, 2014 (a win over Kongo), Vitaly Minakov was stripped of the title in May of 2016. Yet, almost one year later to the day, there has still been little talk as to when and where the Bellator heavyweight championship will be reinstated.

When asked if he knew anything about Bellator’s heavyweight title picture, Kongo said he has not been focusing on it.

“Honestly, I don't pay attention to those details, I'm a fighter,” Kongo. “I tried to be closer, to be the next contender to the belt (referring to his UFC run). When I paid attention to the reviews or what they used to say about the fights, they would say if he wins one more fight, he would be next contender. It was always the same thing, fight after fight. I don't know what I should say.”

Of course, this hasn’t stopped Kongo from dreaming of holding a world championship.

“I've got some great competition,” Kongo said. “Of course, people say like ‘yeah, he should get the title’ and yeah that's what I want, but I'm not the only one to dream and want that gold.”

He’s right: he isn’t the only one that wants that gold. His opponent at Bellator 179, Augusto Sakai, is a 25-year-old Brazilian native who has shown impressive striking. Of his nine victories, seven have come via knockout.

Kongo will need to lean on his experience to capture another victory.

“He's a big guy, he's good everywhere: Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu. He's good, man,” Kongo said of his opponent. “I need to bring the fight to him. He's a young lion. He's hungry. He wants to make a statement; he wants to be the next guy to be the best. He's talented. I have to be careful about him.”

Losing to an unheralded opponent like Sakai could spell the end of Kongo’s career, ending his time as one of the top heavyweights in the sport.

Kongo seems fully aware that at 41, his best days in the sport are likely behind him. He’s just a few fights away from retirement and will be looking to establish his legacy before calling it a career.

“I said that probably two fights ago (that it was almost time to retire), but I don't want to fight until I'm an old guy with white hair and try to fight with young blood. No, no,” Kongo said. “My time is almost done. Probably one more year, two more years. Maybe less, I don't know. I'm thinking about it, no matter what. You never know what life is going to bring to you.”



FloCombat's hottest content, delivered to your inbox


Don't miss breaking news, feature stories, event updates, and more. Sign up for the FloCombat mailing list today.

Fabricio Werdum: Colby Covington Is A 'B*tch' For Calling Cops

© Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Fabricio Werdum

Following his win over Marcin Tybura at UFC Fight Night 121 on Saturday night in Sydney, UFC heavyweight Fabricio Werdum faced the media and the inevitable questions about his dust up with No. 3 welterweight contender Colby Covington earlier in the week. 

Volkan Oezdemir Arrested On Aggravated Battery Charge

© Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Volkan

By Josh Sanchez

Thomas Almeida Looking To Recapture Buzz Inside Octagon

© Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Almeida

For FloComat via A.G Fight

Fabricio Werdum Earns Victory In Sydney, Calls For Title Shot

© Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Fabricio Werdum

By Josh Sanchez

UFC heavyweight Fabricio Werdum had an eventful week, which came back around when he secured a decision win in the main event on Saturday night.

Jessica Rose-Clark Takes Split Decision At UFC Fight Night 121

© Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Jessica Rose-Clark

By Josh Sanchez

Roy Nelson Talks Bellator Grand Prix: 'This is My Belt'

© Dave Mandel-USA TODAY Sports Roy Nelson

By Damon Martin

All Fighters Make Weight, Three Title Fights Set For Lion Fight 39

Lion Fight Lion Fight 39

For FloCombat via LionFight.com

By Scott Zerr

All fighters made weight, including the six involved in a trio of title bouts, as Lion Fight Promotions and Muay Thai Grand Prix partner up for the history-making Muay Thai Grand Prix presents Lion Fight 39 card taking place on Saturday, November 18th at the Indigo at O2 Arena in London, England.

Chael Sonnen Says Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor 2 Is 'Likely'

Mark J Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Conor-McGregor-Floyd-Mayweather-2

Chael Sonnen predicts these things. 

History, Titles On The Line At Lion Fight 39

Lion Fight 39 Lion Fight

Muay Thai is one of the most historic and storied disciplines in all of combat sports, and the best practitioners in the “art of the eight limbs” compete and thrive under the Lion Fight promotional banner.

Fabricio Werdum Talks Conor McGregor Wannabes, Another Title Shot

© Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Fabricio Werdum

For FloCombat via A.G Fight