by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
forward to testing his stand-up with Cheick Kongo after a
Coming into UFC 82, “The Texas Crazy Horse” Heath Herring
was looking forward to testing his stand-up with Cheick Kongo after a long
training camp with legendary kickboxer Rob Kaman.
What happened in the fight was something almost no one
predicted. Kongo took Herring down to the mat and tried a ground attack.
Even Herring, with nearly 60 professional fights, was
surprised at the game plan of Kongo, who seemed to be primed for a striking
“It actually took me towards the end of the first round to
even figure out what was happening at that time,” said Herring in an interview
had trained pretty much exclusively for a stand-up fight and we were in the
middle of a wrestling match. It was pretty shocking.”
Kongo’s strategy made Herring dig deep to find new ways to
win the fight and he complimented the game plan, but says that his own power at
the beginning of the first round may have played into the ground attack also.
“I think maybe a lot of it had to do to with the fact that
we landed that straight right early on and it might have just kind of taken the
wind out of him,” he stated.
In both the second and third rounds, Herring was able to
take side control on Kongo and began reigning down knee strikes to the body,
but the Texas native admitted after the fight that he wished he had a different
set of rules while working in that position.
“The crowd seemed to get really, really excited when I would
raise that one knee above his head, and I was kind of playing to the crowd a
little bit on that,” he admitted. “I’m really missing those Pride rules. It
would have been awesome to finish that fight in the second round with knees to
Herring seemed content in both rounds to maintain side
control, a position he says he favors.
“I like the side control. As long as I’m on top, I’m big
enough, I’m strong enough, it’s just going to pose a lot of a challenge to anybody
who gets underneath me,” he said. “I think knees to the body are going to count
a heck of a lot more than rabbit punches to the side of the head or rabbit
punches to the body.”
With the win over Kongo, Herring will take some time off
before heading back to the gym to work with both Kaman and nutrition guru Tony
Aponte, who has also been working with UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn.
Herring said that he plans on calling old friend Mark
Laimon, from Cobra Kai Jiu-Jitsu, to come on board and help with his ground
attack and along with Aponte and Kaman he may just have the perfect training
Putting on a show in front of the fans in Columbus, Ohio,
Herring is just waiting to hear about his next fight and feels that he’s never too
far away from being in title contention.
“I always kind of felt I was right there. I was in the top
five for years and years and years when I was in Pride, and I think I’ve always
been considered in the top ten or fifteen heavyweights,” said Herring. “I feel
like I can get in there with any of the best of them and give them a hell of a