Kongo on Comeback KO: Good Thing I Have a Good Chin


Though he was undeniably down, Cheick Kongo insists that he was never out during his jaw-dropping heavyweight battle with Pat Barry at UFC Live 4.

“I was decolleted, like the lift -- you know, go down and go up,” Kongo explained during a post-fight interview on the Versus network. “When he hit me, I said, ‘Whoa!’ I knew I had to come back right away, ‘cause I can’t let him be very confident from this position.”

Kongo, 36, looked all but finished after only two minutes in the cage with Barry on Sunday at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. An overhand right found its way to Kongo’s temple, wiping out the hulking Frenchman’s equilibrium and sending him tilting to the canvas. Barry rushed to finish and appeared to turn out his nemesis’ lights with a flurry of punches, but Kongo came to his senses and grabbed for a single-leg just as referee Dan Miragliotta was poised to halt the contest.

“I didn’t see anything. I couldn’t imagine what’s going on,” said Kongo. “I just remember saying, ‘Whoa, OK, he dropped me down, so something happened.’ So, I had to come back quickly.”

And come back quickly Kongo did. The Wolfslair Academy representative simply refused to be beaten, even after struggling to his feet and being downed by yet another Barry right. Kongo somehow stood again, staggering backward into the fence while the American walked him down.

“It was pretty tough. It was impossible to imagine what game plan he had in mind,” admitted Kongo afterward.

Then, only 20 seconds after being floored, Kongo flipped the script. As Barry came forward for the finish, Kongo unleashed a pair of right hands. The first, which landed on Barry’s left ear, didn’t appear to do serious damage. The second was all Kongo would need, though, a devastating uppercut which Barry never saw coming. The Milwaukeean fell to his back, arms splayed and right leg twisted beneath him, already out cold as Kongo rained down further punishment from mount until referee Miragliotta intervened.

“I can say it was lucky, but I just worked all the defense I could do for this fight. The good thing was I have a good chin,” said Kongo, who has been stopped on strikes only once in his 10-year, 24-bout MMA career.

Triumphant in his return from an eight-month hiatus -- during which he underwent back surgery and suffered a shoulder injury -- Kongo asserted in a separate video interview on UFC.com that he was around “88 percent” for the bout. Nonetheless, the Parisian was satisfied with his quick work and expressed hopes for a speedy return to propel him into title contention.

“I’m not scared about anything, just a little bit pressured, ‘cause eight months off, away from the fight, that’s something pretty odd,” Kongo said, also noting his relief that Barry was able to leave the cage under his own power. “He came back quickly, recovered very quick, and that’s a good thing. It’s not a long fight where we have to spend 15 minutes. Something sharp, quick. Perfect.”

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