Cheick Kongo certainly looks the part. At 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, with a physique that appears carved out of granite, the former Euro Savate champion seems like the kind of guy you wouldn’t want to run into in a sinister Parisian alleyway.
Wait, do they have sinister alleyways in Paris?
Anyway, if a Hollywood movie producer or comic book artist were to dream up a prototype of what a “cagefighting champion,” might look like, they’d likely come up with a character resembling Kongo. But after six fights in the UFC – including one where he made Mirko Cro Cop look downright dwarfish en route to a unanimous decision win – Kongo may still be the least known of all the company’s legitimate contenders for the heavyweight strap.
It’ll likely take a highlight reel knockout of Dan Evensen to even get him back on TV this weekend, as a UFC 82 loss to Heath Herring has relegated the Frenchman to the unaired preliminaries at UFC 87.
Critics say Kongo is a fearsome and athletic striker, but with a ground game that is just barely adequate enough to pass at the highest level. Even the UFC promotes him as something of a work in progress, saying that he has “looked better each time out,” before his split decision loss to Herring in March. English is also Kongo’s second language – a problem for many top level heavies trying to make it in America – so it’s hard to learn much about the guy from his own words.