Riddum.com caught up on several topics with UFC Heavyweight Cheick Kongo. In this exclusive interview, the Frenchman talks about his upcoming UFC 120 fight against Travis Browne, the title between Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin, Anderson Silva's status in the pound-for-pound debate, and the always heated topic of steroid abuse in MMA:
Riddum: What can you tell us about your UFC 120 opponent Travis Browne? What are his strengths?
Cheick Kongo : His strengths are his boxing and his BJJ. He came to the UFC without any major flaws. He is the type of opponent that has everything to win by beating me. It will be my job to push him beyond his own boundaries and to stand in his way.
R. : What did you think about the fight between Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin?
C.K.: It was a good fight, engaging from both sides. Lesnar made a great comeback after his health issues; he stepped up to the plate and was able to capitalize on Carwin's weaknesses, which were exposed in this fight.
R.: You certainly did not miss the steroid allegations surrounding Chael Sonnen that came under the spotlight these past few weeks. Dennis Hallman stated that at least 50% of MMA fighters take PEDs. Nate Diaz also said that everybody was on steroids, you should be surprised when somebody DOES NOT test positive rather than be surprised when someone DOES test positive. Is it safe to assume that a lot of MMA fighters take steroids to give themselves an edge?
C.K.: 50%, if not more**... What can I say, other than we need to stay away from all of that. It's not easy to put things into perspective, especially if you believe that you have a disadvantage from the get go. For some athletes, it's hard to hold up physically and mentally- the pressure, the obligation to stay on top - everything pushes you to take steroids. For me, PEDs aren't the solution. Taking PEDs jeopardizes your health and it's cheating. I am a fighter; I owe my victories to my hard work, my training, the fact that I push myself beyond the limit, the sacrifices I make to a life almost entirely dedicated to sports. Nothing else. Stay away from the needles. You can succeed without them.
R.: The last time we spoke together, you stated that Anderson Silva was the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Do you think this is still this case after his UFC 117 showdown with Chael Sonnen?
C.K.: He still has the belt and had he lost it, I would still say the same thing today, just as for GSP, Fedor and others. Look at their paths, they are the few who succeeded where others have failed. Win or lose, a champion remains a champion.
This is a translation of the original interview in French which can be found here (full version).
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**Note: Given the context, the question that was asked, the wording of the answer, and other elements, the statement "50%, if not more..." could be interpreted as "50% of MMA fighters take steroids/PEDs, if not more...", although this is NOT what was specifically stated by Cheick Kongo on the topic at hand. When reached for clarifications, Cheick Kongo's manager neither denied nor confirmed Cheick Kongo thinks that 50% of MMA Fighters if not more take steroids/PEDs. Lastly, this interview was conducted via email, not via phone or video.
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