A year after he retired from the UFC, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic began fighting mixed martial arts again. And now, nearly four years later, it appears the former Pride Open Weight Grand Prix champion is headed back to the Octagon.
Cro Cop has won three out of four of his bouts since exiting the UFC in 2011, winning and then defending the IGF championship in his two most recent bouts, both against former Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii.
“CroCop is returning to the UFC. It will be announced shortly. Just got confirmation on it now from a source very 😉 close to the situation,” tweeted respected U.K. reporter John Joe O’Regan on Tuesday. MMAWeekly.com later confirmed that an announcement is expected soon.
Although Cro Cop looked good in his past couple of fights, the truth of the situation is that his return to the UFC probably has a lot to do with his entertaining an offer from Bellator and his popularity in Europe and Asia.
O’Regan added that Cro Cop had a deal with Bellator about 99-percent done when the UFC swooped in and offered him big money to sign with them instead.
Bellator president Scott Coker recently said he was “definitely” interested in signing Cro Cop, which would have made for an exciting fight with recent Bellator signee Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson, but it appears the UFC is derailing those plans.
Cro Cop is also one of the most prominent and popular fighters to emerge from the K-1 and Pride Fighting Championships, which were both tremendously popular in Asia and Europe.
So not only does the UFC get to keep Cro Cop off of Spike TV, they have another popular fighter to utilize as they continue their aggressive global expansion.