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Cheick Kongo
Cheick Kongo.jpg
Born (1975-05-17) May 17, 1975 (age 48)
Paris, France
Height 6 ft 4 in (193 cm)
Weight 242 lb (110 kg)
Division Heavyweight
Reach 81 in (206 cm)
Style Kickboxing
Stance Orthodox
Team Kongo Smashin' Club
Wolfslair MMA Academy
Huntington Beach Training Center
Rank Black belt in Karate
Black belt in Kendo
Brown belt in Silat
Years active 2001–present (MMA)
Kickboxing record
Total 23
Wins 21
By knockout 12
Losses 2
Mixed martial arts record
Total 46
Wins 31
By knockout 15
By submission 4
By decision 12
Losses 12
By knockout 3
By submission 1
By decision 8
Draws 2
No contests 1
last updated on: October 17, 2010

Cheick Kongo is a French mixed martial artist and former kickboxer who fights in the Heavyweight division. A professional MMA competitor since 2001, he has also competed for the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Bellator.

Early life

Born to a Burkinabé father and a Congolese mother, Kongo began training in martial arts when he was 5 years old, learning Kendo and Karate. As he grew older, he had already received a black belt in both styles and began to expand his repertoire and trained in Boxing, Muay Thai, Savate, Wrestling and Shooto at the age of 19. At the age of 23 he trained Silat, an Indonesian martial art. He was coached by Charles Joussot and Franck Ropers, the men who brought Silat to France. He is also a cousin of rugby star Fulgence Ouedraogo, the French back-rower. Cheick is also a columnist for the French MMA magazine, Top Fight.

Mixed martial arts career

On June 10, 2001, Kongo began his professional career by knocking out Doog Ward. Kongo then followed up that win with a TKO over Dave van der Veen. He then lost his third professional MMA fight to Rodney Faverus by decision. He faced Gilbert Yvel on May 20, losing for the second time in his career when he tapped to strikes in the second round. He trained with Anderson Silva and Wanderlei Silva in the early days of Pride Fighting Championships.

Ultimate Fighting Championship

Kongo entered the UFC to fight Gilbert Aldana at UFC 61, whom he beat by TKO due to a doctor stoppage. Kongo followed up with a win over UFC newcomer Christian Wellisch by KO due to a knee strike, before losing to UFC newcomer Carmelo Marrero at UFC 64. Then, Kongo defeated Assuerio Silva by majority decision at UFC 70.

At UFC 75 on September 8, 2007, he defeated Mirko Cro Cop by unanimous decision. Though there was controversy as Kongo kneed Cro Cop in the groin several times without having any points deducted, inspiring American MMA fans to give Kongo the nickname "Cup Cheick".

He fought against Heath Herring at UFC 82, losing by split decision. At UFC 87 he fought against UFC newcomer Dan "The Viking" Evensen, whom he defeated by first-round TKO.

Kongo fought at UFC 92 on December 27, 2008, where he beat former Cage Rage British Heavyweight champion Mustapha al-Turk by TKO. Kongo dropped Al Turk with two right hands. Then fired on a vicious ground and pound attack, Kongo pounced on al-Turk with elbows and punches, opening up a big cut above the eye. Referee Steve Mazzagatti stopped the fight after 4:37 of the first round.

In his next fight he defeated Antoni Hardonk at UFC 97 by second-round TKO.

Kongo replaced Heath Herring on three weeks notice at UFC 99 to face the up-and-coming Cain Velasquez in the co-main event. Kongo lost to Velasquez by unanimous decision in a one-sided affair. He did however, manage to drop Velasquez on two occasions with straight punches. It had been rumoured that if he was to defeat Velasquez, Kongo would earn a title shot against the winner of the UFC 100 Heavyweight Championship between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir. Mir lost his bout against Lesnar and actually ended up fighting Kongo at UFC 107. During the pre-fight talk, Mir stated that Kongo had no ground game, so at the weigh ins Cheick Kongo turned his back to Mir, to be disrespectful. Mir won the fight by a submission. After connecting with a left overhand punch that dropped Kongo, Mir finished him with a guillotine choke, rendering Kongo unconscious just 72 seconds into the first round.

Kongo defeated Paul Buentello on March 21, 2010, at UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones by submission due to elbows.

Kongo was expected to face The Ultimate Fighter 10 winner Roy Nelson on July 3, 2010, at UFC 116 but a back injury to Kongo has caused the cancellation of the fight.

Kongo's next fight was against undefeated Travis Browne at UFC 120. They fought to a unanimous draw. Kongo repeatedly grabbed Browne's shorts and had 1 point deducted in the final round.

Kongo fought Pat Barry on June 26, 2011, at UFC on Versus 4. His fight against Barry became the main event since Nate Marquardt was not medically cleared for his welterweight debut against Rick Story. During the bout Kongo was dropped by a looping right hand. Visibly rocked, Kongo got back to his feet but was dropped again seconds later by another hard punch. Despite being dropped twice, Kongo was able to knock Barry out with a hard overhand right to the ear, followed by an uppercut to the chin to secure a win midway through the first round.

Kongo faced Matt Mitrione on October 29, 2011, at UFC 137. He won the fight via unanimous decision by utilizing his reach with his jab and securing multiple takedowns.

Kongo faced Mark Hunt on February 26, 2012, at UFC 144. He lost the fight via TKO in the first round.

Kongo was expected to face Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira on July 21, 2012, at UFC 149. However, Nogueira pulled out of the bout, citing that an arm injury sustained in his last bout against Frank Mir had not healed enough to resume the proper training and was replaced by Shawn Jordan. Kongo defeated Jordan via unanimous decision.

Kongo faced Roy Nelson on April 27, 2013, at UFC 159, they were supposed to meet before at UFC 116. He lost the fight via knockout in the first round. After his loss to Nelson, Kongo's UFC contract expired and he was released from the UFC.

Before UFC 159 the UFC offered Kongo a four-fight deal, which he turned down. Kongo left the UFC with a 11-6-1 record.

On May 4, 2013, Kongo stated that he is on good terms with the UFC and was quoted saying: "Don't believe he said-she said stories. I have not been cut by the UFC. I am Cheick Kongo so I know best what's next for me. It doesn't mean that I am leaving the UFC, it doesn't mean that I am staying – it means this is my life." Kongo has stated that he is open to the possibility of resigning a contract with the UFC.

Bellator MMA

Shortly after it was announced that Cheick's teammate Rampage Jackson was going to Bellator, it was stated that Kongo will be following his teammate. Kongo's move to Bellator was official on August 28, 2013.

Kongo made his debut in the Season 9 Heavyweight tournament. He faced Mark Godbeer on October 4, 2013, at Bellator 102. Kongo won the fight via TKO in the second round.

He was then expected to face Vinicius Queiroz in the tournament finals, on November 2, 2013, at Bellator 106. However, due to a change in the line up, the bout was canceled.

Bout between Kongo and Queiroz was then expected to take place on November 8, 2013, at Bellator 107. However, Queiroz was later forced to withdraw from the bout due to a knee injury and was replaced by Peter Graham. Kongo won the fight via unanimous decision.

Kongo faced undefeated Bellator Heavyweight Champion Vitaly Minakov at Bellator 115 on April 4, 2014. He lost the back-and-forth fight via unanimous decision. Kongo faced Eric Smith at Bellator 120 on May 17, 2014. He won the fight via TKO by way of knees and punches at 4:35 of Round 2.

Kongo faced fellow striker Lavar Johnson at Bellator 123 on September 5, 2014. He won the fight via rear-naked choke submission in the first round. This marked his first submission win that was not caused by strikes since 2003.

Kongo faced King Mo Lawal at Bellator 134: The British Invasion on February 27, 2015. He lost the fight via split decision.

Kongo faced former Bellator Heavyweight Champion Alexander Volkov on June 26, 2015, at Bellator 139. He won the fight via unanimous decision.

Kongo faced Vinicius Queiroz at Bellator 150 on February 26, 2016. In the third round, Kongo was dropped by a right hand, however, he was able to recover and win a split decision.

Kongo faced Tony Johnson at Bellator 161 on September 16, 2016. He won the fight via majority decision.

Kongo faced former training partner Oli Thompson at Bellator 172 on February 18, 2017. He won the fight by unanimous decision.

Kongo faced Augusto Sakai at Bellator 179 on May 19, 2017. He won the fight via split decision.

Kongo faced Javy Ayala at Bellator 199 on May 12 in San Jose, CA. He won the fight via knockout in the first round.

Kongo faced Timothy Johnson on October 13, 2018, at Bellator 208. He won the fight by knockout in the first round.

Kongo faced Vitaly Minakov for a second time on February 16, 2019, at Bellator 216 He won the fight by unanimous decision.

On July 11, 2019, it was announced that Kongo will be facing Ryan Bader for the Bellator Heavyweight World Championship on September 7 at Bellator 226. The bout ended in a no contest at 3:52 of the first round after an accidental eye poke from Bader rendered Kongo unable to continue.

On May 4, 2020, it was revealed that Kongo had signed a multi-fight contract with Bellator.

On October 10, 2020, Kongo fought in a rematch Timothy Johnson at Bellator 248 in Paris, France. He lost via split decision.

Kongo faced Sergei Kharitonov on August 20, 2021, at Bellator 265. He won the fight via a rear-naked choke in round two.

Kongo faced Ryan Bader for the Bellator Heavyweight World Championship on May 6, 2022, at Bellator 280. He lost the bout via unanimous decision.

Championships and achievements

Kickboxing

  • 2005 World Champion Federation King of the Rings
  • 2005 King of Colosseum Tournament Champion
  • 2005 Rings World Champion
  • 2004 King of the Ring Super World Champion
  • 2004 Muay Thai World Champion
  • 2003 Intercontinental Muay Thai Champion
  • 2002 RINGS European Champion
  • 2001 RINGS European Vice Champion
  • European Savate Champion

Mixed martial arts

  • Bellator MMA
    • Bellator Season 9 Heavyweight Tournament Championship
    • Most fights in Bellator Heavyweight division history (17)
    • Most victories in Bellator Heavyweight division history (13)
  • Ultimate Fighting Championship
    • Knockout of the Night (One time) vs. Pat Barry
    • Knockout of the Year (2011) vs. Pat Barry
  • King of the Ring
    • KOTR Super World Champion -103 kg
  • World MMA Awards
    • 2011 Comeback of the Year vs. Pat Barry at UFC Live: Kongo vs. Barry

Mixed martial arts record

Professional record breakdown
46 matches 31 wins 12 losses
By knockout 15 3
By submission 4 1
By decision 12 8
Draws 2
No contests 1
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 31–12–2 (1) Ryan Bader Decision (unanimous) Bellator 280 May 6, 2022 5 5:00 Paris, France For the Bellator Heavyweight World Championship.
Win 31–11–2 (1) Sergei Kharitonov Submission (rear-naked choke) Bellator 265 August 20, 2021 2 4:59 Sioux Falls, South Dakota, United States
Loss 30–11–2 (1) Timothy Johnson Decision (split) Bellator 248 October 10, 2020 3 5:00 Paris, France
NC 30–10–2 (1) Ryan Bader NC (accidental eye poke) Bellator 226 September 7, 2019 1 3:52 San Jose, California, United States For the Bellator Heavyweight World Championship.
Win 30–10–2 Vitaly Minakov Decision (unanimous) Bellator 216 February 16, 2019 3 5:00 Uncasville, Connecticut, United States Bellator Heavyweight title eliminator.
Win 29–10–2 Timothy Johnson KO (punches) Bellator 208 October 13, 2018 1 1:08 Uniondale, New York, United States
Win 28–10–2 Javy Ayala KO (punches) Bellator 199 May 12, 2018 1 2:29 San Jose, California, United States
Win 27–10–2 Augusto Sakai Decision (split) Bellator 179 May 19, 2017 3 5:00 London, England
Win 26–10–2 Oli Thompson Decision (unanimous) Bellator 172 February 18, 2017 3 5:00 San Jose, California, United States
Win 25–10–2 Tony Johnson Decision (majority) Bellator 161 September 16, 2016 3 5:00 Cedar Park, Texas, United States
Win 24–10–2 Vinicius Queiroz Decision (split) Bellator 150 February 26, 2016 3 5:00 Mulvane, Kansas, United States
Win 23–10–2 Alexander Volkov Decision (unanimous) Bellator 139 June 26, 2015 3 5:00 Mulvane, Kansas, United States
Loss 22–10–2 Muhammed Lawal Decision (split) Bellator 134 February 27, 2015 3 5:00 Uncasville, Connecticut, United States
Win 22–9–2 Lavar Johnson Submission (rear-naked choke) Bellator 123 September 5, 2014 1 3:27 Uncasville, Connecticut, United States
Win 21–9–2 Eric Smith TKO (knees and punches) Bellator 120 May 17, 2014 2 4:35 Southaven, Mississippi, United States
Loss 20–9–2 Vitaly Minakov Decision (unanimous) Bellator 115 April 4, 2014 5 5:00 Reno, Nevada, United States For the Bellator Heavyweight World Championship.
Win 20–8–2 Peter Graham Decision (unanimous) Bellator 107 November 8, 2013 3 5:00 Thackerville, Oklahoma, United States Bellator Season 9 Heavyweight Tournament Final.
Win 19–8–2 Mark Godbeer TKO (knees and punches) Bellator 102 October 4, 2013 2 2:04 Visalia, California, United States Bellator Season 9 Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal.
Loss 18–8–2 Roy Nelson KO (punches) UFC 159 April 27, 2013 1 2:03 Newark, New Jersey, United States
Win 18–7–2 Shawn Jordan Decision (unanimous) UFC 149 July 21, 2012 3 5:00 Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Loss 17–7–2 Mark Hunt TKO (punches) UFC 144 February 26, 2012 1 2:11 Saitama, Japan
Win 17–6–2 Matt Mitrione Decision (unanimous) UFC 137 October 29, 2011 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 16–6–2 Pat Barry KO (punch) UFC Live: Kongo vs. Barry June 26, 2011 1 2:39 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States Knockout of the Night.
Draw 15–6–2 Travis Browne Draw (unanimous) UFC 120 October 16, 2010 3 5:00 London, England Kongo was deducted one point in round 3 for holding onto Browne's shorts.
Win 15–6–1 Paul Buentello TKO (submission to elbows to the body) UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones March 21, 2010 3 1:16 Broomfield, Colorado, United States
Loss 14–6–1 Frank Mir Technical Submission (guillotine choke) UFC 107 December 12, 2009 1 1:12 Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Loss 14–5–1 Cain Velasquez Decision (unanimous) UFC 99 June 13, 2009 3 5:00 Cologne, Germany
Win 14–4–1 Antoni Hardonk TKO (punches) UFC 97 April 18, 2009 2 2:29 Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Win 13–4–1 Mostapha al-Turk TKO (elbows and punches) UFC 92 December 27, 2008 1 4:37 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 12–4–1 Dan Evensen TKO (punches) UFC 87 August 9, 2008 1 4:55 Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Loss 11–4–1 Heath Herring Decision (split) UFC 82 March 1, 2008 3 5:00 Columbus, Ohio, United States
Win 11–3–1 Mirko Cro Cop Groin Strikes UFC 75 September 8, 2007 3 5:00 London, England
Win 10–3–1 Assuerio Silva Decision (majority) UFC 70 April 21, 2007 3 5:00 Manchester, England
Loss 9–3–1 Carmelo Marrero Decision (split) UFC 64 October 14, 2006 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 9–2–1 Christian Wellisch KO (knee) UFC 62 August 26, 2006 1 2:51 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 8–2–1 Gilbert Aldana TKO (doctor stoppage) UFC 61 July 8, 2006 1 4:13 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 7–2–1 Dave Dalgliesh TKO (punches) Rings Holland: Men of Honor December 11, 2005 2 N/A Utrecht City, Utrecht
Win 6–2–1 Gabor Nemeth KO (punches) King of the Ring: Mission Impossible June 4, 2005 2 N/A Zagreb, Croatia Won KOTR -103 kg Super World Championship.
Loss 5–2–1 Gilbert Yvel TKO (punches) It's Showtime 2004 Amsterdam May 20, 2004 2 4:40 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Win 5–1–1 Joop Kasteel KO (punch) RINGS Holland: World's Greatest April 4, 2004 1 4:31 Utrecht City, Utrecht
Win 4–1–1 Dave Vader Decision (unanimous) RINGS Holland: The Untouchables September 27, 2003 3 2:00 Utrecht City, Utrecht
Win 3–1–1 Hans Nijman Submission (armbar) It's Showtime 2003 Amsterdam June 8, 2003 2 0:59 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Draw 2–1–1 Michael Knaap Draw (unanimous) It's Showtime: As Usual / Battle Time September 29, 2002 2 5:00 Haarlem, North Holland
Loss 2–1 Rodney Faverus Decision (unanimous) Rings Holland: Saved by the Bell June 2, 2002 2 5:00 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Win 2–0 Dave van der Veen TKO (punches) Rings Holland: Some Like It Hard December 2, 2001 2 1:25 Utrecht City, Utrecht
Win 1–0 André Tete Submission (heel hook) Rings Holland: No Guts, No Glory June 10, 2001 1 3:20 Amsterdam, Netherlands

Kickboxing record (incomplete)

Kickboxing record (Incomplete)
21 wins (12 (T)KO's), 2 losses
Result Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win Serbia Dusko Basrak TKO (punches) King of Colosseum 2005 November 25, 2005 4 N/A Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina King of Colosseum 2005 tournament final.
Win Croatia Mladen Brestovac Decision (split) King of Colosseum 2005 November 25, 2005 3 3:00 Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina King of Colosseum 2005 tournament semifinal.
Win Hungary Tihamer Brunner KO King of Colosseum 2005 November 25, 2005 N/A N/A Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina King of Colosseum 2005 tournament quarterfinal.
Loss Brazil Glaube Feitosa Decision (unanimous) Ichigeki Paris 2005 March 19, 2005 3 3:00 Paris, France
Win Croatia Sinisa Andrijasevic TKO (knee to the liver) King of the Ring March 5, 2004 2 N/A Priština, Serbia and Montenegro Won KOTR Muay Thai rules, -105 kg Super World Championship.
Win Poland Marcin Rozalski TKO (knees) N/A N/A 3 N/A Paris, France

Legend:       Win       Loss       Draw/No contest

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Cheick Kongo para niños

  • List of male mixed martial artists
  • List of male kickboxers
Black History Month on Kiddle
African-American Women in Medicine:
May Edward Chinn
Rebecca Cole
Alexa Canady
Dorothy Lavinia Brown
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