UFC 144 Fight Card: Where Does Cheick Kongo Rank With a Win?

Andrew Barr@@andrewbarr8Correspondent IFebruary 25, 2012

Photo courtesy of MMArecap.com
Photo courtesy of MMArecap.com

Cheick Kongo will look to continue his climb up the heavyweight ladder when he takes on Mark Hunt at UFC 144.

A win over Hunt would put Kongo on a five-fight unbeaten streak, not having been defeated since his 2009 loss to Frank Mir.

This is a very winnable fight for Kongo, as Hunt has always been a mid-level fighter at best and boasts a mediocre record of 7-7. However, Kongo will need to be cautious of Hunt's striking game, which is dangerous to say the least.

Kongo himself is also a dangerous and skilled striker, but it would be wise of him to use his grappling skills to win this fight, as opposed to standing and trading with Hunt.

A win over Hunt, singularly, will mean little for Kongo, but when combined with his recent success in the heavyweight division, it should garner him a top-10 opponent for his next outing.

It's clear that Kongo's back-to-back losses to Frank Mir and Cain Velasquez back in '09 convinced the UFC that he doesn't belong among the elite of the division, but enough wins will get anyone back to the top.

Where exactly Kongo will rank with a win at UFC 144 is difficult to determine because of the impending amalgamation of the UFC and Strikeforce's heavyweight divisions—but one thing is for sure, his opponent will at least be high-profile.

A win at UFC 144 should move Kongo into the division's upper echelon—two or three wins away from a title shot.


Andrew Barr is a Featured Columnist for BleacherReport.com. For updates on what's happening in the world of MMA, follow him on Twitter @AndrewBarr8