A new Croatian interview with Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (translated here) sheds a lot more light on the heavyweight’s reasons for leaving the UFC and his goals in the new DREAM organization and beyond. Some highlights:
On non-financial reasons for parting ways with the UFC: “I was in full training and wanted to compete in March. However, the UFC couldn’t find me an opponent that fast and I didn’t want to stop my preparations and start all over again for a match in May. Besides I was HUNGRY for a fight and nervous (anxious) like a dog…I asked for a rematch with Gonzaga but that was not possible because he lost to Werdum. Then I asked for Kongo but that wasn’t possible either.”
On business practices that will eventually screw him: “Although I didn’t sign any contract [with DREAM] we came to an agreement for 3 fights in March, June and September. I never had written contracts with the Japanese because we have always done business by oral agreement.”
On returning to the UFC: “I’m going to go back to the UFC without a doubt…The date of return depends on a possible fight with Fedor. The fight should take place on 31st December if Fedor accepts. If that fails I’ll be back in the UFC by the end of this year.”
On his “psychological crisis”: “I lost that killer instinct. I lost 5kg (10lb) before the fight with Kongo, I had a hard time wanting to train and on the day of the fight I thought to myself: Why do I even need this, why am I fighting a guy I have never seen before. I was fed up with it all.”
On diplomacy: “I have managed to come to terms with Dana and I’m thankful for his cooperation and understanding.”
Wow, so Fedor could potentially get a legitimate opponent at the end of this year? Crossed fingers! Emelianenko previously won a lackluster decision over Filipovic at PRIDE Final Conflict 2005 — Fedor was injured, Cro Cop was jet-lagged — but whatever, it’s something. Filipovic will be fighting Mr. X at DREAM’s inaugural show at the Saitama Super Arena on March 15th.