Cheick Kongo: 'The UFC Threw Me Away After Treating Me Like S--t at the End'

Dustin FilloyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2014

Cheick Kongo during his fight against Mostapha Al Turk after receiving a low blow during their UFC heavyweight mixed martial arts match Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008 at The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Kongo won via1st round TKO. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Eric Jamison/Associated Press

Sixteen months after surprisingly turning down a four-fight contract extension with the UFC, Bellator MMA heavyweight Cheick Kongo offered some insight regarding his split with his former employer.

"You know some things happen unexpectedly in your career, but no matter what happens, you can get everything you want. Everything in my career now is good," said Kongo this week, according to "But the UFC threw me away after treating me like s--t at the end. You have to be really tough. They just pushed all the time...push, push, push...and no matter what, I had to keep going."

Kongo, who went 11-6-1 during a near seven-year stretch as a heavyweight in the UFC, has won three of his first four bouts in Bellator MMA.

Kongo's lone loss since parting ways with the UFC came via unanimous decision against venomous Russian Vitaly Minakov in a heavyweight title fight at Bellator 115 in April at the Reno Events Center.

At 39 years of age, the hulking Frenchman has finally gotten a chance to catch his breath, and now that he's done so, he's got his sights set on becoming Bellator MMA's fourth heavyweight champ.

"What they're (Bellator) doing is good, and I can't wait to see what they have in store next," said Kongo, who has TKO'd two of his three Bellator MMA foes with knees and punches. "I would love to rematch Vitaly, and this time around I would not over-train for him. I want to fight for the title next."

Kongo, however, can't think about scoring a rematch with the unbeaten Minakov until he conquers his next opponent, fellow UFC veteran Lavar Johnson. Kongo and Johnson will square off in the co-main event of Bellator 123 on Friday at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Gregory Payan/Associated Press

After going 2-2 in the UFC, the hard-hitting Johnson has dropped two of his first three bouts in Bellator MMA, including a submission loss to Blagoy Ivanov in his last outing at Bellator 116 in April at the Pechanga Resort and Casino.

“I can’t wait, he is a big deal, and he’s just WOW. I have to keep a good base and make sure he doesn’t touch me," said Kongo of Johnson.

In his last bout, Kongo disposed of promotional newcomer Eric Smith with a second-round TKO at Bellator 120 in May at the Landers Center.

Johnson notched his lone win in Bellator MMA when he TKO'd Ryan Martinez in brutal fashion at Bellator 111 in March at the WinStar World Casino.