(Mirko celebrates his 2002 K-1 victory over King Hippo.)
Holy crap! It seems that scoring wins over Tatsuya Mizuno and Hong Man Choi — and getting his nuts kicked in by Alistair Overeem — was enough to earn Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic an invite back to the UFC; the Croatian legend ended his first Octagon run in early 2008 after becoming the biggest bust in UFC history. Here’s the word directly from Cro Cop’s MMA-ID blog:
So we have some big news! 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.
A few months ago, Cro Cop was quoted as saying he wanted to make his UFC return at UFC 99 (June 13th; Cologne, Germany) — and hoped to face Randy Couture; too bad Randy’s already booked. Though Cro Cop didn’t mention a date in his blog post, #99 would still make sense for him, geographically speaking.
In case you’ve already forgotten about Mustapha Al-Turk, he’s the 6-4 Cage Rage vet who got wrecked by Cheick Kongo at his UFC debut in December. UFC.com actually has him listed on UFC 99′s fight card page against ATT prospect Todd Duffee, but it looks like Duff’s gonna get shafted so that Cro Cop can get an easy return fight in front of a European crowd. Past struggles aside, we’re confident that Mirko can beat Mustapha’s ass. Unfortunately, he’ll lose via head-kick KO when he takes on Shane Carwin in his next fight. Such is the curse of Cro Cop.
We’ll let you know when the UFC gives this match an official date…