Kongo Joins Wolfslair

Sep 12, 2008
UFC heavyweight contender Cheick Kongo is the latest acquisition of the Wolfslair MMA academy, according to the Liverpool-based camp.

The French kickboxer joins former light heavyweight king Quinton Jackson as the camp’s second big profile signing in as many weeks. Jackson and Kongo were both previously under the care of manager and trainer Juanito Ibarra.

Kongo (12-4-1) has signed a three-year management deal with the expanding UK team, Wolfslair co-owner Anthony McGann told Sherdog.com Friday.

“We haven’t just appeared out of the blue to sign Cheick,” said McGann. “The story with Cheick is very similar to the one with Quinton. His career high point came in the bout with ‘Cro Cop’ [Filipovic], as Quinton’s did with Henderson [at UFC 75 in London in both cases], and like Quinton, he completed the final and most important part of his preparation with us here at the Wolfslair.”

Kongo, 33, was clearly impressed with the quality and commitment on offer back in 2007, in particular with the camp’s kickboxing coach David Jackson. He’s retained strong links with the camp ever since.

“For 18 months Cheick wanted Dave Jackson to go abroad and train him, but Dave is critical to the team here and has his own commitments,” said McGann.

Similarly to Jackson, Kongo has regularly trained alongside established Wolfslair fighters like Paul Kelly and Michael Bisping ever since his bout with the Croatian striker.

McGann says the new arrangement came rather naturally.

“We don’t look to poach fighters, that’s not our way,” said McGann. “We were in Vegas and Cheick was about to part ways with his previous manager [Juanito Ibarra] -- and his UFC contract was up for renewal at the same time. He [Cheick] knows the strong relationships we have with the UFC so he asked if we could assist with the negotiations, so we sat down with Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White. We went through all the pros and cons, and the upshot was he was happy with the UFC contract.”

Kongo, who is 5-2 in the Octagon, has not been handed his next assignment with the promotion as of yet. His last appearance was a one-sided first-round victory against fellow kickboxer Dan Evensen at UFC 87 in Minneapolis last August.
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