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Cheick Kongo Talks About Velasquez, Intentionally Fouling Cro Cop & More

UFC heavyweight contender Cheick Kongo spoke with and Fighters Only Magazine prior to his bout with Cain Velasquez this Saturday at UFC 99, in what is being viewed by many as a precursor to a shot at the heavyweight championship. However, despite being near the top of the totem pole in the heavyweight division, Kongo remains humble.

“I don’t think I am a ‘star’, I am not that type of person,” Kongo told “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.”

Kongo then turned his attention to the undefeated Cain Velasquez, a fight he accepted on short notice, replacing the injured Heath Herring. He noted that he would have to fight Velasquez down the line anyways, on the road to the title, so why not fight him now?

“I only had three weeks to prepare but that is okay,” Kongo stated. “I am always in shape, always. I go the gym two times a day, every day, even if I do not have a fight. When in training I am doing eight hours a day split into four sessions. I am a fighter and I was ready to fight. The only thing is we haven’t much time for strategy, but neither has he because he was supposed to fight Heath Herring. Whoever wins, wins because he is the best fighter on the night. That will be the only reason.”

As for his opponent, Kongo doesn’t like his chances.

“He is a respectful fighter, but it is gonna be tough for him to fight me at this stage of his career,” said Kongo. “He needs heart to beat me. Lots of heart. He needs to be very careful. He can be very good, I have heard, but I am not too concerned. He should be the one worried. If I was his manager I wouldn’t want my fighter to fight someone like me so soon.”

Kongo plans on sticking to what brought him to the dance – his kickboxing. He would rather win by TKO or KO than a submission or decision. However, if the opportunity comes for a submission, he would take it but he wants to go through it the easy way.

Kongo obviously wants a title shot, but stopped short of demanding one after this fight. He does feel that a win over Cain Velasquez would put him that much closer.

“Maybe I am going to get a shot after this fight,” he said. “I hope to hear something good after I win this fight. But you never know. I don’t make the rules on these things. I thought I was close before, but all I can do is fight and keep winning and training. I am more confident than ever. I am doing things in my fights that I have done in the gym (for a while) and am getting better. I think I will be UFC Heavyweight Champion, yes.”

Kongo then goes on to mention that he would want a rematch with the returning Mirko Cro Cop only if Cro Cop were the champion, otherwise he is not a priority for him. Kongo did admit that his last errant knee to Cro Cop’s groin during their fight at UFC 75: Champion vs. Champion in September of 2007 was, in fact, not an accident.

“The last knee to the balls wasn’t an accident,” Kongo admitted. “He was complaining about different knees to his balls, but they weren’t to his balls, they were to the inside of his legs and that upset me.

“But of course, I apologized for that, but when you fight, you have to fight like a man.”

For Kongo’s full interview with, click here. You can watch Kongo’s interview with Fighters Only Magazine below: