Following a comeback win of sorts at UFC 115, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic is still undecided about his future in mixed martial arts. He’s had a long career with over a hundred fights in MMA, kickboxing and amateur boxing, and he’s not sure if he wants to continue to put his body through the rigorous training and travel that this sport requires.
If he’s going to do it, he needs “motivation” beyond monetary compensation. He needs the type of fights that will “inspire” him, namely a fight with legend Randy Couture, a rematch with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and the opportunity to avenge his loss to the man who knocked him out with his signature head kick — Gabriel Gonzaga.
“But I really cannot say right now if I will continue fighting. I think for me to keep fighting, the conditions would have to be right… What I mean by that is, first of all the fights have to be inspiring. It has to be an opponent that makes me inspired to go through eight weeks of hell with [trainer Ivan] Hippolyte.”
“I have been to Japan 44 times. That is 44 times I got out of bed, went to the airport and traveled all the way to Japan, fought once, twice in a night. 44 times I went to Japan, suffered jetlag, no sleep, broken bones, stitches – at some point you become sick of everything. So I am still thinking about what to do and right now I need some rest. I will talk with Lorenzo and we will see. I just need motivation right now.”
“I think it means fights with the legends… Randy Couture, Antonio Nogueira and [Gabriel] Gonzaga – definitely Gonzaga. I would like to fight them in that order actually – Couture, Nogueira, Gonzaga. Those are the kind of fights that would inspire me and make me go through eight weeks of hell with Hippolyte again.”
“And I do not have the same incentive for travel that I used to – I have made decent money in this sport, I have made a name. Maybe I am in the best possible position now to compete. I don’t need the money, those days are behind me. Now I would fight only to entertain my fans and have great fights. So if I decide to fight again and if I close a deal with deal with Lorenzo, it would be interesting for me to fight in Europe in front of European fans who maybe haven‘t had the chance to see me very much.”
As a long time Cro Cop fan, I think Couture, Nogueira and Gonzaga would make for a heck of three-fight run to end his career with. If one of those doesn’t pan out though, I’d love to see how Mirko’s kickboxing skills match up against James Toney’s pure boxing skills. That would be something we haven’t really seen before. Well, unless you count that time Remy Bonjasky made Ray Mercer quit after one high kick.
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