The Croatian cop, Mirko Filipovic (24-6-2) is back for a second stint in the UFC.
Back with the organization which many fans feel exposed the top level kick boxer as either overrated, past his prime, or both. Mirko was blinded by the Octagon limelight, going 1-2 in his first stretch.
UFC 99: “The Comeback” is set to go down this Saturday night on PPV from Cologne, Germany and will play host to Cro Cop’s anticipated return. This afternoon the UFC hosted a call with Dana White and Mirko Cro Cop to talk about said return.
Cro Cop was questioned about his struggles inside the Octagon which had Mirko expressing uncertainly followed by several possibilities.
“To tell you the truth, it is hard for me to say. I am not 100% sure exactly. I have spent a lot of time thinking about it. I wasn’t the old Mirko Cro Cop that is for sure. I wasn’t adapted for the cage as well as I would have liked. Maybe I wasn’t hungry enough, I don’t know. I think I went through a phase where I didn’t smell blood in a fight at the level I used to. I know I over thought things too much.”
Cro Cop pushed past talk of his original UFC tenure, stating he is now 100% motivated.
“I am hungry, I am focused and I am in great shape for this fight. The surgeries are behind me. I am completely focused on my training. I have let go of my police officer duties. I am not returning just to return. I will prove this in the cage. You will see a very different Mirko Cro Crop at UFC 99. My goal is to come in, win a few fights and work my way toward a title fight.”
Dana White added that he was thrilled to have Cro Cop comeback.
“He expressed to me just how bad he wanted to return. He talked about the success of his surgery, how hard he has been training and his interest in making a run at the title. When I talked to him about fighting in Germany he was so fired up. I have always said I respect Mirko…that his return was a phone call away and there it was.”
Beyond the cage, the big question concerning Cro Cop’s return to the UFC was what kind of deal he got. Some have speculated it was a one fight deal. When Dana was questioned about the topic he offered no definitive answers but did reveal the free spirited nature of their transaction.
“Mirko and I are still sorting out the details of a contract. He ended up on this card last minute – just a few weeks before the event. This whole deal was done verbally over the phone between me and him. In the history of the company, I have never done this with any fighter (do a deal over the phone). I know how I feel about Mirko and how he feels about me. I respect his goals. We have a great relationship so well see what happens.”
When asked if Cro Crop’s future with the UFC hinges on a victory at UFC 99 Dana responded by saying, “I can’t say for sure yet. Cro Cop and I have a great relationship so it’s something we will discuss together. Just because you lose one fight in the UFC doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to leave. There are a lot of different factors. Mirko will fight this fight and we will talk after this fight and see what happens.
Now only one thing that counts for the legendary fighter is his last stand in the UFC. It’s a position he has wholeheartedly accepted –one that likely makes or breaks his enduring legacy.
Tags: Dana White, Mirko Cro Cop, ufc 99