Mirko Cro Cop will face Junior dos Santos at UFC 103 on Sept. 19, 2009 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Zuffa co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta confirmed during a Q & A session at the UFC Fan Expo that the Croatian signed a three-fight contract with the Las Vegas-based promotion.
It was only a couple of weeks ago that Fertitta flew to Croatia to try and patch things up with Cro Cop who had allegedly reneged on an agreement with the UFC and had chosen instead to fight for the Japanese DREAM organization.
Cro Cop spoke recently about his decision to stay with the UFC, “I am pleased to return to the UFC, the only global MMA organization. Unfortunately, all the other organizations are lagging behind the UFC at the moment.”
Apparently, the UFC is offering Cro Cop quite a bit more money than DREAM. In addition to that, he seems to recognize MMA’s top talent resides within the UFC. “Japanese Dream cannot compete with Americans financially nor with quality of their fighters either,” said Cro Cop.
Cro Cop compares the UFC to PRIDE, “The UFC has become what Pride once was, and even more than that. I will always be grateful to the Japanese, because in their country is where I made my name as a fighter.”
Mirko wanted to correct a recent statement he had read about himself, “Certain people even called me a fraudster and I even read a remark by Dana White where he alleged that I called him 600 times.” Mirko explains and adds, “I called him exactly – zero times. I sent him one SMS and that’s all. I wouldn’t call anyone 600 times even if my life depended on it. I do not want to be portrayed in such a light,” said Mirko.
The important thing is, he is back. The former anti-terrorist squad commander has been a fan favorite for years, and even though many U.S. fans have yet to see Cro Cop in his full glory, the fact remains the Croatian is a huge asset to the UFC, especially in their plans for global expansion.
Here are the known fights on the UFC 103 card in Dallas so far:
Junior dos Santos vs. Mirko Filipovic
Martin Kampmann vs. Mike Swick
Josh Koscheck vs. Frank Trigg
Tyson Griffin vs. Hermes Franca
Efrain Escudero vs. Cole Miller
Sean Sherk vs. Gleison Tibau
Drew McFedries vs. Tomasz Drwal