MMA4Real was able to catch up with UFC Heavyweight contender Cheick Kongo via email as he prepares for his upcoming fight at UFC 97. Kongo holds a UFC record of 6-2 and has won his last two fights via first round TKO. It's clear that Kongo is on a mission to earn a shot at the UFC Heavyweight belt. In this exclusive interview, Kongo gives us his thoughts on his upcoming fight, a possible matchup with Junior dos Santos, fighting in France, his thoughts on coaching TUF, and more. Check it:
Kelvin Hunt-Cheick you are less than a month away from your UFC 97 fight against Antoni Hardonk. How are you feeling mentally and physically?
Cheick Kongo-I'm feeling so good and confident for this fight!
Kelvin Hunt-Have you brought in any new training partners to prepare for Hardonk, or are you primarily training with the guys at Wolfslair?
Cheick Kongo-I have brought in all the guys I needed for this training camp. Like that, there's no mistake.
Kelvin Hunt-Good stuff, both you and Hardonk have kickboxing backgrounds. Is there anything Hardonk does that concerns you, and how do you see this fight going?
Cheick Kongo-I can't read the crystal ball, just it will not be an easy fight.
Kelvin Hunt-I know you are not looking past Hardonk, but Junior dos Santos has gone on record as saying he would like to fight you next. Is that a fight that interests you, and what do you think of him in his two UFC fights thus far?
Cheick Kongo-I think he's a great fighter like each one of us. My priority is the belt, and if he's got the belt. I'm the man.
Kelvin Hunt-Well Brock Lesnar holds the strap now. What are your thoughts on Brock Lesnar getting a title shot so quickly? Do you think he deserved it, or it was just a business decision on behalf of the UFC?
Cheick Kongo-Whatever, if it was or was not. He has the belt and I want to be the next champion.
Kelvin Hunt-Give us your thoughts on the Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira fight?
Cheick Kongo-It was a great and exciting fight.
Kelvin Hunt-Would you ever be interested in coaching on The Ultimate Fighter?
Cheick Kongo-Why not? It should be great to get a French coach for the season. LOL.
Kelvin Hunt-We saw Dana White talking about you kicking Paul Kelly in the butt on one of his video blogs. How did all of that butt kicking with Paul come about?
Cheick Kongo-We are like kids who want to test or challenge each other non-stop. But he was unlucky because everything he got was on record....so many people think I bully Paul all the time. But that's wrong, we just make crazy jokes!
Kelvin Hunt-Yea that was pretty crazy. Dana White has mentioned that the UFC has plans to hold an event in France in the future. Give us your thoughts on that, and if you fought on that card who would you like to see across the octagon as your opponent?
Cheick Kongo-Wow!!! It should be awesome, I have no idea. I just want to make an exciting fight.
Kelvin Hunt-Cheick, you'll be 34 years old this year. How much longer do you want to continue fighting?
Cheick Kongo-Not long, I planned on winning UFC gold before I retire.
Kelvin Hunt-What's something about Cheick Kongo that very few people know?
Cheick Kongo-I'm not strange or mean. Just someone very friendly.
Kelvin Hunt-I'm the same way! What can we expect from Cheick Kongo in 2009?
Cheick Kongo-To become the Heavyweight champ in the UFC
Kelvin Hunt-Are there any parting words, or anyone out there you would like to thank?
Cheick Kongo-My mother, my family, my Wolfslair teammates, Rampage, Mexican Bro, Zach, Bisping, T-G, Paul, My Friends, My Facebook & Myspace Friends, My Sponsors(GOD, CIE DE CALIFORNIE,STRANGE), Those which I forgot.
MMA4Real would like to thank Cheick Kongo for taking the time out of his training schedule to speak with us. We would like to wish him good luck in his upcoming fight against Antoni Hardonk at UFC 97.