If the UFC doesn’t really want Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic to succeed, than one can question if they will ever want anyone to. Not only is the world’s biggest MMA organization taking back the fallen Croatian, but they gave him an unprecedented one-fight contract.
“In this history of the company, I’ve never done this with anybody ever,” UFC president Dana White said of the deal. “I’ve never done that ever in nine years of being in this business.”
Sure any fight with the UFC could be your last, as word on the street is they can cut you at any point following a loss regardless of how many fights are remaining on your deal.
But, that isn’t the point. 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.
Why wouldn’t the UFC want to give CC a mulligan?
“When Mirko and I talked on the phone, the day that he said that he wanted to come back, let me tell you, he was all fired up and basically saying, ‘Listen, I got my surgery. I’ve been training. I want this, I want to come back. I want to win that title, and I want to take a run at it,'” White said of their watershed conversation.
At the same time, Cro Cop is a prideful guy. He knows he didn’t live up to the hype in his first Octagon go round, but he’s fully prepared to accept the challenge of doing it this time.
“I owe a lot to the UFC and to the UFC fans,” said a humbled CC. “I owe a lot. … (The) UFC was the black spot in my career and in my life, and I’m the man who dedicates his life to fighting, and I just want … to justify the (trust) Dana White gave me two years ago and calling me to UFC after I went from Pride.”
Their one-fight agreement may be a benefit for both sides as neither are sure exactly what will happen once that cage door slams shut this weekend. A vintage Cro Cop performance could have the UFC shelling out big bucks to keep him, however a repeat of his previous venture to the States could have him deported back to Japan.
For now, all CC is focused on is stockpiling wins. He looks to earn his keep starting with Mustapha al Turk this Saturday at UFC 99.
“I just want to return – to return to the top, and I just want to prove everyone that they were wrong,” stated a determined Cro Cop. “They were wrong. I just hope that God will give me the strength that I can prove my worth. I don’t like to talk too much now on the phone about it because I have to prove my worth in the cage.
“And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”
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