Cheick Kongo has represented the country of France in the sport of MMA in both the UFC and currently, in Bellator MMA.
Kongo, who has admitted his career is winding down, also says that UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou is the new face of MMA in France.
“He’s very good,” Kongo told MMA Junkie. “It’s very great for the sport in France. He’s going to bring the notoriety. He’s the future. Every athlete has to pass the torch. I’m not worried or anything like that. My time was my time, and now it’s his time.”
Kongo can be seen in just over a week’s time at Bellator 172, where he will be taking on Oli Thompson in a heavyweight division attraction. As for his home country of France, Kongo believes that it’s only a matter of time that MMA is legalized and regulated there.
“For sure, when someone is doing great it always increases the potential of something happening,” Kong said. “Everybody has to recognize his talent and the good things he did. It’s been on the table, but there are big issues that need to be changed. It will happen. The sport used to be super crazy for people to look at, but they accept kickboxing and wrestling and judo and karate. It needs to be recognized like those. We have a big MMA group out there lobbying. It will be great.”
Bellator 172 takes place on Saturday, February 18 from the SAP Center in San Jose, California with Fedor Emelianenko and Matt Mitrione headlining.