“Cheick is salty. That’s going to be a real test for me. But honestly, I’m excited. That’s why I started fighting. I want to be tested. I want to see how tough I am or how tough I’m not… I don’t take Cheick lightly. Cheick is a really serious contender. There’s been a lot of times that he’s so resilient, he doesn’t stop… I think he’s got seven or eight times the fights that I do. I’ve got five, and he’s got 40. But that’s kind of the fun part. We get to see if my athleticism can make up for his learning curve and if my learning curve can catch up and pass his… I’m just going to try and punch him in his face. I’m going to punch him. I’m going to kick him. If he wants to go to the ground, I’ll do my best to submit him… I can tell you where it’s not going: It’s not going to a decision. Either I’m going to sleep or he’s going to sleep or getting submitted. It’s one of the two. But I’m telling you, we’re going to dance the dance, that’s for sure.”

— Matt Mitrione talking to MMA Junkie about his upcoming fight against Cheick Kongo at UFC 137

Cheick Kongo definitely represents the toughest test Matt Mitrione has faced in his short, albeit successful MMA career. It’s tough to say who’s going to win because we really don’t know how Mitrione is going stack up against a veteran like Kongo. I think Mitrione has a good chance of pulling it off, but only if he managed to shore up his striking defense since his last fight. Dropping his hands when he engages like he did over and over again against Christian Morecraft is going to get him knocked out against an experienced kickboxer like Cheick Kongo. Just ask Pat Barry.

Image via Dave Mandel for Sherdog