Bellator has been busy in recent weeks signing adding established UFC vets to its roster, and just this week it announced it’s done so again with the acquisition of Cheick Kongo. Although the heavyweight may not be as big a name as Tito Ortiz or “Rampage” Jackson, Kongo is certainly a familiar fighter to casual fans, thanks to his six year run with the UFC.
Not long after Kongo was stopped by Roy Nelson at UFC 159, it was widely reported that the French fighter had been released, when in fact his contract was just up. In a recent interview with MMA Junkie.com, Kongo revealed he was in fact offered a new deal by the UFC, but that it was “not an offer I liked”. The 38 year-old vet, who went 11-6-1 during his time with the UFC, also had this to say about his former employers.
“For me, it’s just about competition,” Kongo said. “Right now I have the opportunity to compete like I used to do. I used to have to learn how be an entertainer, because in the UFC, if you’re not an entertainer, you don’t get the right deal. I came to the UFC as a fighter, but now I understand the business.”
“I have no regrets,” said Kongo. “I spent a really good time in the UFC. I respect the UFC for giving me the opportunity. No regrets, and also the door is not closed. It’s a new step for me to improve myself. It was made to make myself stronger and to try and reach a new goal.”
So, it certainly sounds like Kongo left the UFC on much better terms than Ortiz or Jackson. Now it will be interesting to see how he performs in the Season Nine heavyweight tourney.
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