To most UFC fans, Cheick Kongo remains a mystery. Despite seven Octagon wins (including three in a row), many still don’t feel like they know the man who may be next in line for a shot at the heavyweight title should he get by Cain Velasquez this Saturday night at UFC 99. So when asked whether he’s reached the point where he can do for the mixed martial arts scene in France what his teammate Michael Bisping has done for the UK, he answers honestly and humbly.
“I don’t think I am a “star”, I am not that type of person,” said Kongo. “But to be recognized and have people like you is a good thing, a great vibe. I am friends with Michael Bisping and he has great support in England and people say France is becoming like that for me. So if I can help MMA in France I am happy to. It is a great pleasure to have French people supporting me.”
Slowly but surely, Kongo is starting to break out, acclaim-wise, and not only in Europe, but in North America, where he has fought his last four bouts. That’s not surprising, given his improving all-around game and the already solid striking attack that has seen him take out Dan Evensen, Mostapha Al Turk, and Antoni Hardonk in successive matches. But to some, simply performing in the Octagon isn’t enough to make you a star. People need to see you in a different light, whether it’s as a soundbyte machine, an out of the ring comedian, or as a scowling weapon of destruction. Kongo has started to gain new fans thanks to the pranks he’s pulled on Wolfslair teammate and UFC lightweight prospect Paul Kelly, one of which found its way to youtube and UFC President Dana White’s video blog.
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