Former PrideFC superstar and UFC fallout Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic says in his official blog that he will be making his long-awaited return to the Octagon at UFC 99. Cro Cop states he is prepared to end his two year hiatus in order to scrap against the world’s best.
“I decided to fight in the UFC again, because of the stronger competition in the heavyweight division,” wrote Cro Cop on mma-id.com. “My next opponent will be Mustapha Al-Turk.”
At 24-6-2, Cro Cop has long been considered one of the best ever to strap on MMA gloves, however his talents were spotlighted after he ran through the 2006 Pride Open Weight Grand Prix Tourney like a freight train.
He parlayed that hoopla into a fat UFC contract, but he was not the fighter that mixed martial arts fans had grown to appreciate. The Croatian ended up beating Eddie Sanchez in his Octagon debut, however posted disappointing L’s against Gabriel Gonzaga and Cheik Kongo after that. He was then sent packing, amicably of course.
Word on the street was that CC requested for UFC president Dana White to grant him an early release from his contract to hone his skills overseas, with the intent on one day returning to accomplish what he had set out to do the first time around.
White, who wasn’t born yesterday, quickly obliged as it let them off the hook for Cro Cop’s monster contract.
“I would really like to fight at least three times this year,” Cro Cop stated. “I wish to fight against quality opponents and to fight my way up to a title shot, but for now I’ll focus only on my next fight and after that we’ll see what’s going to be on the menu next.”
Although no official announcement has been made from White or the UFC, CC made it seem like it was a done deal. In fact, he promised his prior-turned-current boss that he will deliver this time around.
“I owe you a lot from our first deal, and I’ll make it up to you,” stated Cro Cop.
After leaving the UFC in September of 2007, he signed with the popular Japanese MMA promotion Dream. He has posted two vintage Cro Cop TKO’s, and a No Contest against Alistair Overeem, a bout which Overeem was thoroughly dominating before he decided to check if Cro Cop was wearing a cup or not … on multiple occasions.
UPDATED at 4:24PM PDT:
Team Cro Cop later released this statement on his website confirming his participation in Germany:
These days the boys from Cro Cop team are training in full force. After a long break and highly demanding recovery process, Mirko Cro Cop is ready to fight in MMA again.
All problems with injuries are history and Cro Cop is very optimistic to start another chapter in his career: “I feel great, the recovery process is going well and we train at high intensity now. I never had such a strong desire to prove myself and I’ll climb up again, or die trying.”
Mirko’s next fight is set for June 13th in Germany, which means that he’s back in the UFC, a place that he didn’t have his best moments: “I decided to fight in the UFC again, because of the stronger competition in the heavyweight division. My next opponent will be Mustapha Al-Turk. I didn’t do well in my first three appearances – I wasn’t myself. By returning to the cage I want to prove that I can still fight at highest level, no matter when or where,” claims Cro Cop.
UFC 99 will be Cro Cop’s first fight this year with the possibility of three fights coming by years end. “It’s hard to talk about concrete plans, but I would really like to fight at least three times this year. I wish to fight against quality opponents and to fight my way up to a title shot but for now, I’ll focus only on my next fight and after that we’ll see what’s going to be on the menu next,” says Cro Cop. Although the UFC 99 card looks stacked, it seems that the UFC officials can see the benefits of hiring a top European fighter for their first ever UFC show in Germany.
“I want to say thank you Mr. Dana White for your interest and for an invitation back to the UFC. I owe you a lot from our first deal, and I’ll make it up to you,” promises Cro Cop.
All news related to Mirko Cro Cop’s career are posted on Mirko’s official MMA-ID profile on http://www.mma-id.com/CROCOP and Mirko’s official homepage http://www.mirko-crocop.com.
The CROCOP Team
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