The first five words Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic uttered during Thursday’s UFC 119 press conference should put all potential pay-per-view purchasers at ease. The heavyweight reiterated today that he and his recently injured right eye, which is still considerably red, are good to go for Saturday’s showdown with Frank Mir.
“My eyes are good,” Cro Cop matter-of-factly stated. “Eyes are good.”
Prior to boarding a plane this past Saturday bound for the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana, the striker suffered an eye injury that jeopardized his main event scrap with the former UFC champ. At the time, he claimed to be disobeying his doctor’s orders by moving forward with the fight, but has since been cleared by multiple physicians.
“Mirko’s been checked out by doctors in Croatia, doctors here,” UFC president Dana White claimed. “Mirko’s eye is good and ready to go. He wouldn’t be fighting if he wasn’t.”
CC was last seen submitting Pat Barry with a 3rdRound rear-naked choke at UFC 115 in mid-June and was under the impression that he had a break coming. Unfortunately, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira suffered multiple injuries during his training camp and Octagon brass came calling for a last-minute replacement.
When his opponent caught wind of the injury, Mir immediately worried that he would once again be dateless in Indy.
“I won’t lie to you,” Mir said. “When I heard possible eye injury, I was slightly paranoid.”
Speaking of Plan C …
“We had no other plans,” White said of their dire status. “We were just praying that Mirko was going to be fine.”
The last time the 36-year-old doubled back so quickly was following his TKO win over Mostapha Al-Turk at UFC 99 in June 2009. He was violently put down by Junior dos Santos three months later at UFC 103. Although that’s an interesting little tidbit, the Croatian believes his lengthy and decorated resume will allow him to adjust to the quick turnaround.
“This will be my 37th MMA fight and I had 33 K-1 fights,” Cro Cop said. “It will be just like any other fight. I’m a professional. I’m a fighter. It’s in my blood.”