Rising heavyweight prospect Matt Mitrione improved his stock again last weekend by taking out the durable Tim Hague by TKO in under three minutes at UFC Fight for the Troops 2, bringing his current win streak to four in a row. Mitrione has reached the point in his development where people are calling for him to face off against stiffer competition and during a recent appearance on MMAFighting.com’s The MMA Hour with host Ariel Helwani, Mitrione named such an opponent.
“I would be honored to fight Cheick Kongo,” he said. “I think that would be a lot of fun to throw down. I think it would be a lot of fun to fight somebody of that caliber. Somebody that has legendary stand-up, has a wrestling game to them, has a good ground-and-pound game. I think it would be fun. I think it would be a real trip to get in there and see how well I can fare against him. I respect the hell out of him. I’ve met him several times, and he’s always been extremely cool and very, very polite. I think it would be a lot fun.”
Though the hype is justifiably growing around Mitrione, the 32-year old former pro footballer keeps in perspective the fact that he only has four professional bouts to his credit and told Helwani that he would prefer an extended camp to prepare for Kongo to ensure he could match up with the veteran’s skills.
“I see on the Underground that people are calling out Shane Carwin and stuff like that. That’s a different type of ball game,” Mitrione said. “I think all of us in this division stand a puncher’s chance against anybody, but I think that there’s a lot of development I have, and I think that if I’m fortunate enough to get to fight Cheick, I would have to have five, six months off before that fight to make sure I have developed the things that I’m weakest on and that I get to come in there as developed and as strong as possible.”
Mitrione has defeated his The Ultimate Fighter 10 cast mates Marcus Jones and Kimbo Slice, as well as Joey Beltran and Tim Hague, with the fight against Beltran being the only bout to go the distance. “Meathead” injured the second metacarpal on his left hand while dispatching of Hague and is suspended indefinitely pending doctor’s clearance.