Ten years ago it seemed Kofi Kingston was on the verge of becoming a breakout star in WWE. His feud with Randy Orton in 2009 seemed to be in full swing until it was suddenly halted.

This Sunday, WWE Champion Kingston defends his title against "The Viper" Orton at WWE SummerSlam in what many are calling a match that is a decade in the making.

Kingston recently admitted in an interview with Sports Illustrated's Justin Barrasso that he is still working to achieve his defining moment as WWE Champion since winning the title back at WrestleMania 35 against Daniel Bryan - who Kingston heaped praise upon.

"Bryan is the unsung hero," said Kingston. "And he's done a lot for guys who are undersized but showed they can still be cast in this top guy spot. He's done it so well for a very, very long time.

"And Bryan went through that identical journey I did to get to WrestleMania. He was badgered and blocked by The Authority and called a B-plus player, that was his story, and it became mine, too. We don't get a lot of shine in main events, we're not 6'8" and 300 pounds, so the fact that he was my opponent was poetic. I have a whole lot of respect for Bryan and the boundaries he's been able to break."

Just like during Bryan's journey to the WWE Championship, Kingston could feel the momentum for him building, explaining that he could feel the optimism for his encounter as soon as he stepped into the squared circle with Bryan on that fateful night at WrestleMania 35.

"Right from the beginning, I could feel the excitement the crowd had for that match," said Kingston. "Then Daniel Bryan came to the ring. We met eyes, and he said, 'You don't deserve to be here.' That's the moment I knew, 'Yes, I do.'

"I was in complete disbelief when the ref's hand hit the mat for the third time. So many things have to line up for that moment to happen. If I don't meet Big E and Xavier, then I never get to this point. So I was hit with all of those thoughts. When I got to the back, Vince was smiling. Tyler Breeze was there waiting for me, The Usos were there, there were so many people there waiting for me."

You can read the full interview by clicking here.