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White: "Kongo in the Mix"

Written by Tom Ngo
June 10th, 2009
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Cheick Kongo has recently been spending countless hours in the gym to perfect his overall MMA game, and it appears to be paying off. With a ginormous heavyweight clash against red-hot Cain Velazquez set for this weekend’s UFC 99 event, Kongo knows that it’s showtime.

The heavyweight division should be the crown jewel for any combat sport organization, but the UFC has hit a bit of a dry patch as most of the world’s top HW’s reside in other organizations.

You certainly can’t blame this “Frenchy” (as former UFC welterweight champ Matt Serra would call him) for not pulling his weight, as he has looked explosive and dangerous in his last few appearances. His most recent TKO win over Antoni Hardonk at UFC 97 was his third in as many fights.

The good news for Kongo is that there’s a certain someone paying very close attention.

“Yeah I think he is (a top contender),” UFC president Dana White said.” I think Cheick Kongo … he’s in the mix. Getting the next title shot [if he beats Velasquez]? I can’t answer that question right now. But there’s no doubt he’s in the mix.”

What might be preventing Kongo from reaching the division’s upper echelon is the fact he remains untested against the division’s top talent.

Sure a win over Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic is nice to have on your resume, but it would have been even more impressive if Cro Cop didn’t turn into a shell of his former self once he stepped foot inside the Octagon. Posting wins over Dan Evensen, Mustapha al Turk and now Hardonk, isn’t going to put you on the fast track to a 5Round affair.

The aforementioned Velasquez, Junior dos Santos and Shane Carwin are some other young heavies that have seen their Octagon stock rise over the past year, so Saturday’s scrap will definitely have major ramifications for the future of this division.

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