by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic’s on-again, off-again relationship with the UFC is appears to be officially in the on position, and documented.
The Croatian heavyweight has signed a three-fight contract extension with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. UFC president Dana White confirmed the signing to Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole on Monday.
After a disappointing first run through the UFC in 2007, Cro Cop went back to Japan to re-tool his arsenal. He re-emerged in the Octagon at UFC 99 with a TKO win over Mustapha Al-Turk.
Following UFC 99, reports quickly spread that instead of remaining in the UFC, Cro Cop would instead head back to Japan to accept a three-fight offer from Dream. Even though a fight between Cro Cop and Siala “Mighty Mo” Siligia was revealed, pen was never put to paper.
Now under officially under contract with the UFC, Cro Cop is already slated to return to the Octagon on Sept. 19 in Dallas. He will face rising Brazilian heavyweight Junior dos Santos.
“It’ll be a big opportunity in my career,” dos Santos commented recently on graciemag.com. “Lots of good things have happened in my life and this is one more. I’m going to make the most of it.”
According to Croatian website Index.hr, UFC executive Lorenzo Fertitta recently flew to Cro Cop’s hometown of Zagreb to negotiate his return and make him “an offer he couldn’t refuse.”
According to the Yahoo! report, White blamed much of the confusion over Cro Cop’s contract situation on the Croatian’s manager, Ken Imai.
“I’ve said this many times, and I’ll say it again: there’s some crooked (expletive) that goes on in Japan,” said White over the UFC 100 weekend. “They’re all crooked; there’s some sneaky (expletive) going on over there. That’s always a big problem. These guys that are in the fight business over there, for my Mexican friends, ‘no bueno.’”