UFC 149: Cheick Kongo Apparently Doesn't Understand What a Gatekeeper Is

Jeremy BotterMMA Senior WriterJuly 19, 2012

Oct. 28, 2011; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC heavyweight fighter Cheick Kongo during weigh ins for UFC 137 at the Mandalay Bay event center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

If we made a list of the top 5 scariest-looking dudes in the UFC, Cheick Kongo would be championship material. He's actually one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, but he's certainly an imposing and intimidating athlete.

Unfortunately for Kongo, terrifying looks don't win you fights. He hasn't been able to string together three consecutive wins since 2008-2009. His last fight was a loss to Mark Hunt, and let's be honest: Hunt isn't exactly top-tier UFC material, despite a nice little winning streak that he's in the midst of putting together.

Does that make Kongo a gatekeeper? He was asked about that very topic during today's UFC 149 press conference in Calgary, and gave this very curious answer:

That's pretty weird. Gatekeeper reminds me of some activity in France like me used to do. I am not wearing suit when I'm fighting. I'm no gatekeeper. I try my best, sometimes I make mistakes, and I got too much ego to pull out of fight, and I'm so proud, so I say yes. I used to do the right things; I got enough strength to do it. Not just because I'm black, I'm supposed to be a gatekeeper. I have a dream like everyone, and I am going to get it.

Judging by this answer, I'm going to assume Kongo doesn't actually know what a gatekeeper is. A gatekeeper, as I'm sure you know, is typically an aging fighter who has very little championship hopes remaining but can still provide a stern test for fighters looking to make their way into the title picture.

I don't know what wearing a suit would have to do with being a gatekeeper, unless Kongo is referring to someone like a bellhop that opens doors at hotels.

But the larger point is this: Kongo is not a gatekeeper because he's never gotten to the point where he could have been considered a title contender. Not even remotely. You have to be a contender, at least at some point along the way, to be considered a gatekeeper in the truest sense of the word.

That being said, a win over Kongo would do wonders for LSU alum Shawn Jordan. It won't launch him into the title picture or even put him in the top 10, but the former Strikeforce heavyweight is making a case for himself as a guy to keep your eye on in the future.