(Kongo beats down Cro Cop at UFC 75. Photo courtesy of Graciemag.com.)
The UK’s Wolfslair Academy has revealed to Eurosport-Yahoo! that they’ve taken over the management and training of UFC heavyweight Cheick Kongo. Kongo will follow his friend and training partner Quinton Jackson across the pond; both men had previously trained with Juanito Ibarra, who may or may not have been skimming money from Rampage. According to Wolfslair co-owner Anthony McGann:
“[Cheick] was having some problems negotiating his new contract with the UFC and was looking for somewhere to train so it was an easy decision for him to join his mates…He has been training with Quinton for his last couple of fights, and we know that has not been a happy camp. We think he will be a happier fighter here; he is only a couple of hours from his home in Paris and we will be taking all the other distractions like sponsorship out of his hands…Cheick excels when he fights strikers so if he is going to step up there and keep improving, we know we need to improve his ground game. We are very pro-UFC and they want him to work on his ground game; we hope we can get a striker for his next fight in the meantime.”
With four UFC regulars on the team — including Michael Bisping and Paul Kelly, who will both be competing at UFC 89 next month — Wolfslair is on its way to becoming the most prominent MMA camp outside of the U.S. Not that McGann would be satisfied with that:
“We want to show the rest of the world that we are up there with the USA in terms of the quality of our gyms and that in terms of the UFC, we are up there with the top two or three teams in the world.”
Kongo (12-4) holds a 5-2 record in the UFC, with three of those wins by first-round KO/TKO. Though he was buzzed about as the next opponent for Brock Lesnar until Randy Couture returned to the UFC, his next fight date and opponent are currently undetermined.