When Heath Herring had to drop out of his scheduled UFC 99 fight with Cain Velasquez, Cheick Kongo agreed to take the fight on just three weeks' notice. Although he knew that taking the June 13 fight wouldn't give him time for a full training camp, Kongo told FanHouse Tuesday that he's eager to fight Velasquez because he thinks if he wins, he'll have earned a shot at the UFC heavyweight title.
"Yeah, I've been waiting for this for a long time, so I hope so, yeah," Kongo told me when I asked him whether he thinks he would earn a shot at the belt by beating Velasquez. "I've done a lot of work and I think this opportunity is going to be very good for me."
The UFC heavyweight title will be unified at UFC 100, when champion Brock Lesnar gets his rematch against the man who beat him last year, interim champion Frank Mir. Kongo told me he'd be perfectly happy to fight either Mir or Lesnar.
"I don't care how that fight goes," Kongo said of the UFC 100 main event. "I just hope to get the win on June 13 and get the title shot."
Many MMA observers consider Fedor Emelianenko, who will fight for Affliction in August, the sport's best heavyweight. But Kongo said he considers the UFC championship to be the true heavyweight title, and he said of Fedor, "He has to come into the UFC to prove himself."