Cheick Kongo finishes contract with the UFC

Veteran heavyweight Cheick Kongo (18-8-2, 11-6-1 UFC) is no longer a member of the current UFC roster after finishing out his contract at this past weekend’s UFC 159 event. Earlier reports pegged Kongo as being cut from the roster, however, UFC officials later responded that Kongo’s contract had been fulfilled, and the promotion is unlikely to re-sign him at this time. His profile has been removed from UFC.com.

Kongo was knocked out by Roy Nelson in the first round at UFC 159. It was Kongo’s second loss in his last three fights as he suffered another first-round knockout loss to Mark Hunt at UFC 144 in February 2012. Sandwiched in between those two losses was a decision win over Shawn Jordan at UFC 149 in July 2012.

Kongo had been a member of the UFC’s heavyweight division since 2006 when he debuted at UFC 61. He started his UFC career off by winning four of his first five fights, capped off with a decision win over Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 75 in September 2007. Unfortunately, Kongo was never able to break into the title pack despite 18 fights in the UFC as losses to the likes of Cain Velasquez, Frank Mir, Heath Herring, Hunt and Nelson kept him from securing a title shot.

Kongo’s biggest UFC highlight was arguably his come-from-behind knockout win over Pat Barry in the main event of UFC Live 4 in June 2011. Barry came close to knocking Kongo out on a couple of occasions only for Kongo to end up knocking Barry out with one punch. That win earned Kongo “Knockout Of The Night” honors, and it was named “Knockout Of The Year” on UFC.com.

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