There is great news for fans of the ‘Croatian Sensation’. It is looking as though the legendary PRIDE and UFC veteran, Mirko Filipovic (24-6-2) could make his return to the UFC Octagon on June 13, 2009 in Cologne, Germany at UFC 99. The event will be the UFC’s first foray into the central European country and what better way to make an entrance than to bring back one of central Europe’s greatest fighters of all time, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic.
‘Cro Cop’ a.k.a. ‘the Croatian Sensation’, told the Croatian news site, Nova, in a new interview he is in negotiations with the UFC to fight at UFC 99 and he is very confident they will come to an agreement and will be on the card in June. ‘Cro Cop’ said Randy Couture (16-9) could be a possible opponent but it was not up to him or his management.
‘Cro Cop’ said that a match-up with Couture would make a great fight and he was certain Couture would also be interested in the fight. Although that would be an exciting bout for fans in Europe as well as the U.S., Randy Couture has since come out saying he has no interest in fighting Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ or appearing on the UFC 99 card at all.
No word is given as to why Couture would not be interested in the fight and it seems to go against the attitude most fighters profess of being willing to fight anyone the UFC puts in front of them. However, Couture is nearing the end of his professional MMA career and has stated previously that there are only a couple of fights left for him that make sense. Evidently Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ does not meet his ‘makes sense’ criteria.
‘Cro Cop’ has had three fights in the UFC. He entered the organization in February of 2007 where he won a first round TKO victory over Eddie Sanchez (8-3) at UFC 67. He then suffered one of the most brutal knockouts in history at UFC 70 against Gabriel Gonzaga (10-3) and lost a unanimous decision victory against Cheick Kongo (13-4-1) at UFC 75. He then left the UFC on amicable terms to try to get his game back on track.
His first bout after leaving the UFC was in March 2008 at DREAM 1 where he stopped Tatsuya Mizuno (5-4) via TKO in under a minute. His second bout would be his toughest post-UFC fight challenge and it ended in no-contest when Alistair Overeem (29-11) landed a knee to ‘Cro Cop’s’ groin hard enough to smash one of his testicles up inside him. His third and final post-UFC match came against Hong Man Choi (1-2) on the K-1 Dynamite New Year’s eve card and ‘Cro Cop’ dismantled the Korean giant with leg kicks and evasion tactics, ending in a first round TKO when Choi could not continue.
MMA hardcores had high hopes for ‘Cro Cop’ when he first entered the UFC and many thought he would end up wearing the UFC Heavyweight Title or at the very least fighting for the championship. Whether it was the cage he could not adapt to or something else, it quickly became evident this was not the same fighter fans had seen dominate in PRIDE and win the Open-Weight Grand Prix at PRIDE Final Conflict Absolute in September of 2006.
UFC 99 would be the perfect time and place for Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic to make his return to the UFC as well as a return to dominance. No one can take away what the man has accomplished from his incredible winning record to literally putting to sleep some of the best in the game, to going the distance with Fedor Emelianenko, MMA’s all-time greatest champion. For the sake of the sport and the fans who will be watching at home, we can only keep our fingers crossed that one of the most exciting fighters of all time returns to the Octagon on June 13 fully prepared, in shape, and ready to go against whoever the opponent may be.