Next stop on the Cro Cop UFC World Tour? Manchester, England where Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic steps into the Octagon to face Gabriel Gonzaga. Riding a five-fight winning streak, Gonzaga confirmed to Jason Remillard of the Massachusetts-based newspaper The Republican that he will step into the biggest fight of his life on April 21st in Manchester.
Cro Cop, the #2 Heavyweight in the MMAWeekly Rankings, is riding a five-fight win streak of his own, albeit of a different ilk than Gonzaga’s run. Gonzaga’s streak includes UFC wins over Carmelo Marrero, Fabiano Scherner, and Kevin Jordan as well as victories over Walter Farias and Charlie Brown. 3-0 in the UFC is impressive no matter who the competition, but it just doesn’t compare to Cro Cop’s recent pedigree which includes wins over Eddie Sanchez in the UFC and Pride victories over Josh Barnett, Wanderlei Silva, Hidehiko Yoshida and Ikuhisa Minowa.
The plan appears to acclimate Cro Cop to the Octagon against opponents that he should defeat, although Gonzaga has a different take on the situation. The Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Black Belt told The Republican, “I know what I’m going to do to win this fight. I think he has enough skills on the ground, but he’s a dangerous stand-up fighter.”
Considering his jiu-jitsu game, Gonzaga has the prerequisite skills on the ground, but the big question will be a case of how to get him there; many others have tried, most without success.
If he is successful, Gonzaga will have launched himself into the upper echelon of the heavyweight division. If not, Cro Cop will likely be planning his inevitable shot at UFC gold against the winner of Tim Sylvia and Randy Couture.