Mirko Cro Cop FilipovicAll the rumors and speculation can finally end.

Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ has decided to forego the familiarity of Japan for the strength of competition and a chance at redemption in the UFC.

Cro Cop made the announcement earlier today on his blog.

I decided to fight in the UFC again, because of the stronger competition in the heavyweight division. My next opponent will be Mustapha Al-Turk.

I didn’t do well in my first three appearances – I wasn’t myself. By returning to the cage I want to prove that I can still fight at highest level, no matter when or where.

It’s hard to talk about concrete plans, but I would really like to fight at least three times this year. I wish to fight against quality opponents and to fight my way up to a title shot but for now, I’ll focus only on my next fight and after that we’ll see what’s going to be on the menu next.

I want to say thank you Mr. Dana White for your interest and for an invitation back to the UFC. I owe you a lot from our first deal, and I’ll make it up to you.

As Cro Cop mentions, his first opponent will be Mustapha Al-Turk, and according to a press release on his official site, the fight will be taking place on June 13 at UFC 99 in Cologne, Germany. For the record, Al-Turk is still scheduled to fight Todd Duffee according to the official UFC 99 event page. However, if the deal was recently inked, they may have not had the chance to change it yet (lets hope).

With his knee surgery behind him, Cro Cop is currently training at his gym in Croatia. With UFC 99 less than a month away, it doesn’t give him a whole lot of time to prepare, but at least they didn’t throw him straight to the wolves in his first fight back.

Cro Cop has stated in the past that he has finally been able to get past the mental blocks that have prevented him from fighting at his full abilities. In less than a month, it looks like we’re going to find out if that’s actually the case. Here’s to hoping it is.

Update: To erase any doubts, Dana White has confirmed Cro Cop will return against Al-Turk at UFC 99.