by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com (Photo courtesy of April Pishna)
Earlier this month, newly crowned PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix winner Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic appeared on Nova TV, a Croatian television network that broadcasts his fights. Mirko told the media that he is uncertain if he’ll be able to fight at PRIDE’s Shockwave show on New Year’s Eve. The Grand Prix champion stated that even if he were able to fight, he would not have enough time to prepare for a rematch with Fedor Emelianenko.

Mirko will undergo surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot on Oct. 26th and will be unable to train for a certain period of time. Given the significance of a fight with Fedor, it seems unlikely that “Cro Cop” would risk accepting the rematch without being fully recovered from injury.

It was speculated that if Mirko was unable to rematch with Fedor at Shockwave, Chute Boxe’s Mauricio “Shogun” Rua would be his replacement. The defending 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix Champion dispelled the rumor in a recent interview.

An interesting addition to this story is that at the post-fight press conference of Pride’s recent show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Fedor was asked, “Out of all the heavyweights in the world, who would he choose to fight?”

His answer? “I have already made my choice… Josh Barnett.”

Fedor is the #1 Heavyweight in the MMAWeekly Rankings, while Cro Cop is #2 and Barnett is #3.

Barnett would easily be the logical choice to replace Cro Cop. He was runner-up to Mirko at the Open Weight Grand Prix and if Mirko were unable to fight on New Year’s Eve, it would only make sense for Barnett to be given the opportunity to face Fedor.