After a seven-year run that included 18 fights in the organization, veteran heavyweight Cheick Kongo is a UFC fighter no more.
A UFC official told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) Kongo recently fulfilled the last fight on his contract and is unlikely to be re-signed at the current time.
The release comes a few days after Kongo (18-8-2 MMA, 11-6-1 UFC) suffered a knockout loss to Roy Nelson (19-7 MMA, 6-3 UFC) on UFC 159's pay-per-view main card, which took place April 27 in Newark, N.J.
Kongo, 37, was one of the UFC’s longest-employed and most experienced fighters. He made his promotional debut way back at UFC 61 in 2006, where the French kickboxer knocked out Gilbert Aldana as part of a 7-2 start to his UFC career.
Kongo, in fact, was on a 4-1-1 run before the setback to Nelson, which came just two minutes into this past weekend’s fight.
However, that’s been a theme of his time in the UFC. While he sports an overall 11-6-1 mark in the organization, Kongo struggled against the elite of the division, including notables such as Cain Velasquez, Frank Mir and Mark Hunt. The big-fight losses stalled any title hopes, though he proved a tough out for just about anyone, including Velasquez, who’s earned stoppage wins against everyone but dos Santos and Kongo.
Kongo, currently ranked 14th for the most fights in UFC history, also is currently ranked No. 13 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie.com MMA heavyweight rankings.
For complete coverage of UFC 159, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.
(UPDATED: on May 1, 2013, at 4:15 p.m. ET with confirmation from a UFC official that Kongo fulfilled the terms of his contract and is unlikely to be re-signed.)