Cheick Kongo has taken another step toward getting a UFC heavyweight title shot, defeating Antoni Hardonk by second-round TKO Saturday night at UFC 97.
Kongo needs at least one more win before he'd get a shot at the heavyweight title (which will next be contested between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir at UFC 100), but if the UFC matches him up with a top contender like Shane Carwin, Kongo could be contending for the belt before the year is out.
His win over Hardonk was impressive. Hardonk, a very skillful kickboxer, was on a three-fight winning streak and had beaten all three opponents handily. But he had no answer for Kongo, who out-muscled him in the first round and then took him down in the second and pounded him out until the referee stopped the fight to ensure Hardonk's safety. It was a dominant second-round TKO win.
Kongo is nowhere near as big a name in the UFC as Lesnar or Mir, or Randy Couture or Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, so he still has a ways to go before he climbs to the top of the heavyweight heap. But he's on his way.