Big Cheick Kongo fought in the UFC for the 17th time last night and pulled out his 11th Octagon victory when he won an exhausting decision against Shawn Jordan.
Overcoming the wrestling-centric attack of his opponent, Kongo was able to do damage with knees from the clinch and win the favor of the judges, who awarded him the unanimous decision victory.
The victory doesn't erase the memory of seeing Kongo eat the first knockout loss of his career back in February; however, it does show us that he isn't an aging veteran who is ready to bow down to the new breed of young heavyweights.
Where does the 37-year-old Frenchman go from here? Here is a look at five fights for Cheick Kongo to take next.
Kongo didn't do much to change his place within the division, so a matchup with his originally scheduled opponent makes a lot of sense.
Big Nog is still trying to rebound from the only submission loss in his career, and with the star power that his name adds to any event, a veteran with the competitive clout of Kongo is exactly the kind of opponent he needs.
At UFC on Fuel TV 5 in September, two up-and-coming heavyweights will meet in the main event. Whether Stefan Struve or Stipe Miocic comes out as the winner, they are worthy of a bout with a respected veteran like Kongo.
With a win, Struve will improve to 9-3 since joining the UFC roster, while Miocic has put out a perfect record in his three fight tenure so far. A win over a veteran like Struve could bump him into an enviable spot on the roster.
Kongo and Brazilian submission artist are in similar situations in their careers. Both men have experienced highs and lows since joining the UFC roster, and both men are hoping to get a shot at a championship.
Gonzaga fought for gold once before. After starting his UFC career 4-0 and knocking out Mirko Cro Cop with one of the greatest knockouts in history, Gonzaga unsuccessfully challenged Randy Couture for the belt back in 2007. Since that time, he has tried to climb his way back to the top by fighting Junior dos Santos, Shane Carwin and Fabricio Werdum.
A fight with Kongo could go either way, as the Brazilian has a distinct grappling advantage, but also has power to go toe-to-toe with the Frenchman if the fight remains standing.
Pitting winners against losers isn't exactly the Joe Silva style of matchmaking; however, Cheick Kongo hardly came out looking like a winner last night.
Antonio Bigfoot Silva drew the unfortunate position of fighting Cain Velasquez in his UFC debut. That kind of fight is a golden opportunity to move up in status; however, fighting Velasquez is more like a nightmare than a picnic on a warm sunny day.
Silva is a large athlete with a lot of power and a devastating submission game. Battling Kongo would be unpredictable yet solid addition to any card this fall.
In two weeks, heavyweights Ben Rothwell and Travis Browne will meet at UFC on Fox. The winner will have some wind in his sails.
Rothwell is currently coming off of a nasty knockout win over Brendan Schaub, while Browne quickly dispatched of Chad Griggs on the same UFC 145 fight card.
Kongo and Browne have some unfinished business after a draw in their 2010 matchup at UFC 120. A rematch would allow the bout to have some closure.