Cheick Kongo Targeting June Return From Back Surgery

UFC heavyweight Cheick Kongo is still recovering from December back surgery with the hope of returning around June, a source close to the fighter tells MMA Fighting.

The 35-year-old Kongo (15-6-2) had suffered through back problems for several months, even canceling a scheduled UFC 116 bout with Roy Nelson before taking an October UFC 120 fight with Travis Browne that ended in a draw.

Afterward, the popular French heavyweight tried rehabilitation in hopes of avoiding surgery, but he underwent a procedure in early December and has been working on strengthening his back since.

The timeline of a June return could work perfectly for the UFC, which is looking for an opponent for Shane Carwin.

Ironically, Carwin is also coming off back surgery. He's already accepted a place on June's UFC 131 event in Vancouver, though his opponent is to be determined.

A Carwin-Kongo match has been rumored by some, but as of now, the UFC has not spoken to either side about a potential matchup, according to sources.

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