Mirko Cro Cop

UFC Update: St. Pierre, Cro Cop, Rampage, Franca

UFC President Dana White has stated that UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre may be fighting Diego Sanchez April 7th in Montreal for the welterweight title. It was originally thought that St. Pierre would rematch Matt Hughes but it’s now up in the air.

It is all but confirmed that PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic has signed with the UFC. Look for an announcement to come soon, possibly on the December 30th show.

On the most recent edition of ‘Inside the UFC’, lightweights Jens Pulver and B.J. Penn were introduced as the coaches for season 5 of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and also Joe Rogan announced that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson would be fighting in the UFC in 2007.

It has been confirmed that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s first fight in the UFC will come against UFC and PRIDE veteran Marvin Eastman at UFC 67. This fight was originally scheduled to take place on WFA: King of the Streets II but the fight was cancelled and shortly after the Zuffa LLC purchased the organization.

Randy Couture’s name has reemerged in the media as he stated that if Tito Ortiz beats Chuck Liddell at UFC 66, he’ll come out of retirement to fight Ortiz. “If Tito finds a way to beat Chuck, I’m going to have to come out of retirement and give Tito a whack.”

InsideFighting.com sat down with UFC lightweight Hermes Franca and he stated that he signed a new four fight deal with the UFC and his next fight would be January 25th at the Hard Rock in Miami, Florida.

Be sure to tune into Spike TV Thursday, December 28th, as they will be airing UFC 66: Countdown to Liddell vs. Ortiz II, All Access with Chuck Liddell and of course Inside the UFC with Joe Rogan. That will be followed by Live and Inside at 10 PM on Friday.

Finally remember to tune in live on December 30th at 10 PM EST as I’ll be doing one of our patented ‘Live Blogs’.

UFC Update: Canada, Cro Cop, Penn, WFA

Moments after the UFC Fight Night event concluded UFC President Dana White took some time to answer questions with reporters on subjects ranging from Mirko “Cro Cop” to Marcus Davis.

White mentioned that UFC welterweight champion Georges “Rush” St. Pierre would be fighting Matt Serra in February and then his next opponent would likely be Matt Hughes in April at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. White then went on to say he has heard Hughes may want to wait so we could possibly see a fight between Hughes and Diego Sanchez but nothing is for certain. No matter what White said “We’re going to Montreal in April no matter what.”

One reporter asked if there was any more news on which fighters the UFC would be picking up from the WFA and White said “No, not since yesterday. I mean we talked yesterday and obviously the big score there was Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.”

Shortly after that another reporter brought up the rumors of the UFC signing Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, White smiled and said “Really, that’d be awesome too.”

Later White was again asked about “Cro Cop” and he smiled and said “I cannot deny or confirm that. We’re going after everyone; I’m taking over the world. We’re going after everyone.”

White confirmed that he’d love to do another show for the marines. He felt the atmosphere was tremendous and they were honored with the support provided by the folks in the armed services.

When asked about Jeff Joslin, White said “Joslin will definitely be back, no doubt about it. He’s a tough guy, a tough durable fighter. Josh Koscheck is no joke.”

White also confirmed that former UFC welterweight champion B.J. Penn would be a coach on season 5 of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’. Penn will be joining Pulver as a coach on the 5th season and it is expected that they will fight on the season finale which is expected to be in June/July.

UFC Picks Up Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic

Sherdog and MMAWeekly are reporting that PRIDE heavyweight star Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic has made up his mind and chosen to test his skills in the UFC.

Sherdog mentioned that “Cro Cop’s” debut would come against undefeated heavyweight prospect Jake O’Brien who is 8-0 and 2-0 in the UFC.

UFC Update: HBO, WEC, WFA, Canada

Today UFC President Dana White sat down with the OC Register and provided fans with some excellent insight as to what’s on the horizon for the UFC. Here is some interesting information from the interview.

Dana White confirmed the company has picked up:

- Quinton Jackson
- Rob McCullough
- Heath Herring
- Ivan Salaverry
- Urijah Faber
He also mentioned that they are still sifting through it all but the main score was the acquisition of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. We’ll be hearing more information on who was picked up in the coming days.

When asked if being associated with the IFL would be a problem, White stated “Not at all, I’ll take care of that too.” That means we could see the likes of Matt Lindland and Bas Rutten in the UFC in the near future.

White’s reason for purchasing the WFA was mainly for the contracts and in the process he was able to squash the company.

For the past couple of weeks there have been rumors floating around stating that the UFC had purchased the WEC and today Dana White confirmed them. In the interview White said he did in fact purchase the WEC and he went on to say “We’re going to take that to a whole other level, put it on television and blow it up. Pretty soon the WEC will be number 2.”

“The WEC isn’t going to be looked at as a feeder show or guys who are aspiring to be in the UFC. There is going to be no trading or swapping. It’s going to be UFC versus WEC.”

White continued to assure the reporters that 2007 was going to be huge and we now know that is true. At this point we are still at the tail end of 2006 and White has already gone out and purchased the WEC, bought out the WFA, acquired numerous WFA contracts, and he expects his product to be televised on HBO in the very near future. Also there have been many rumors floating around that heavyweight ace Mirko Cro Cop may be testing his luck in UFC in the very near future. When asked about Cro Cop, White said “I’m looking at a lot of guys right now, I want them all.”

White closed out the interview by saying that the UFC would be coming to Canada in April of 2007 for the Georges St. Pierre vs. Matt Hughes rubber match. When talking about the rematch in Canada, an excited White said “How crazy do you that place going to be that night? How do you think it’s going to be for Hughes when he walks in with 16,000 Canadians in there? They’re going to kill him.” On top of that he said the UFC plans on branching out into Mexico and the U.K.

2007 is going to be great!

Cro Cop Withdraws From PRIDE’s NYE Card

Heavyweight superstar Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic has confirmed that he will not be participating on the PRIDE Shockwave 2006 card. Cro Cop choose to withdraw himself from the card so he could give himself some time to fully recover from a nagging injury.

This decision comes just days after “Cro Cop” had confirmed that the UFC made him a solid offer which was better then PRIDE’s. His decision may soon be known…

Cro Cop to UFC?

Croatian news site Vecernji-list is claiming that PRIDE heavyweight Mirko Cro Cop will receive a contract to fight in the UFC.

According to the supposed contract, as reported by Vecernji-list, Mirko would be offered a $1 million signing bonus in a deal that would secure the Croatian star to the UFC for six fights. Moreover, Mirko would supposedly earn $1.2 million for his first two fights in the UFC, $2 million for the two fights thereafter, and an undisclosed amount for the final two fights on the contract.

Cro Cop becomes a free agent on New Years Eve after his fight against an unannounced opponent.

The Heavyweight Triangle

Well Pride’s last two events have set in stone who the top three heavyweights are in that promotion, in order even: Fedor Emelianenko, Mirko Cro Cop, and Josh Barnett.

Now the big question: Who is going to fight Fedor next?

Both Fedor and Barnett are scheduled to fight at Pride’s show on or around New Year’s Eve. It doesn’t have a name as of yet but I’m willing to bet that Pride will go ahead and use Shockwave just as in previous years.

Cro Cop defeated Barnett at Final Conflict Absolute 2006 in September. That would make him the shoe-in to fight Fedor, right?

The thing is Cro Cop lost to Fedor last year and this fact creates a dilemma. Should Pride give Cro Cop another shot just one year later or should Barnett be given the chance even though he lost to Cro Cop last month?

To make matters even more confusing, Fedor announced at a post-fight press conference for Pride’s most recent event, The Real Deal, that he wants Barnett as his next opponent.

Barnett is interested in the opportunity:

Josh said, “Cool. I’m glad that he nominated me. Honestly, I think he understands the game out there. There’s not really all that many people left for him to fight, but I’m sure he’s understood for at least some time now that fighting me would be a really big match up for him.”

“For me, basically what it all comes down to is how training goes…and this year has been, uh…something else so far, but if I feel good, I’ll do it,” said Barnett.

Barnett has expressed wanting to take on Fedor in the past and it looks like right now is the closest that the two have ever been to actually possibly fighting. It’s going to be interesting to see the decision that Pride makes this month concerning the fight.

If the promotion decides to have Cro Cop take on Fedor, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira could be the obvious choice of opponent for Barnett…

Some Dana White Notes

So Dana had some interesting things to say once again at the UFC 63 Post-Fight Press Conference on Saturday night/Sunday morning…

What did he have to talk about? I guess I’ll give it you interview style…

What are your thought’s on Pride coming to the US market?

“I think it’s great for the sport… There are going to be a lot of guys up-and-coming. There are a lot of opportunities for these guys to make money, so I can’t have everybody. I can’t pay everybody… I think it’s necessary.”

Any thoughts on Wanderlei Silva’s loss to Mirko Cro Cop?

“I think he just got executed. Isn’t that what happened to him?”

Will we see Silva in the UFC in the near future?

“Did he wake up yet? Let’s put it this way, everybody’s terrorized me about the fight with Wanderlei Silva. I’ve been trying to make that fight for five years. If that fight happened in the United States right now, he’d be on a ninety day suspension for getting his head kicked to another planet. He’s out. There’s no way he can come fight in the United States right now. When he gets back up and wins another fight or something… trust me when I tell you, I’d love to have Wanderlei Silva under contract with the UFC. I joke around, but I’d love to have him under contract.”

Could you elaborate more on your plans for expansion as you have mentioned before?

“We’re going to get real aggressive over the next two, three years. We’re going to expand our market. We’re going down to Mexico. We’re going up to Canada. We’re going over to the U.K. in October. We’re going to do 4 or 5 fights a year over there. We’re going to see how that goes and then possibly reaching out into Europe.”

“We’re going to aggressively go after the Hispanic market over the next couple of years. Right now down in Mexico, they get the Ultimate Fighter on DirecTV. Every time I go down to Mexico, people know about the sport and the show and we’re looking for a television deal.”

A New Champion is Crowned

On May 5th, 2006, fight fans fastened their seatbelts and prepared themselves for what was expected to be a wild ride, The Pride Open Weight Grand Prix.

16 fighters entered the event knowing that only one man would walk about being crowned the 2006 Final Conflict Absolute champion. After two rounds and over five months, fans were left with 4 of the world’s best fighters who would face off to see who would be named the Pride Absolute champion.

The night started with Mirko Cro Cop, Wanderlei Silva, Josh Barnett and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

The very tough Croatian striker Mirko Cro Cop’s semi-final opponent was Wanderlei Silva who is currently the Pride middleweight champion. Both fighters had previously expressed their hate for one another in pre-fight interviews and they were both very excited to get it on for a second time. Back in April of 02, Silva and Cro Cop faced off in the ring at Pride 20: Armed and Ready. Due to special rules enforced in the bout it was called a draw as the fight went the distance.

Their match was the first of the semi-finals to judge who’d be fighting for the belt. Cro Cop showed total dominance from the moment the belt rang to start the fight until the ref pushed him away because his opponent lay motionless on the canvas after eating a vicious left high kick.

Early in the fight Silva tried to mount some offense by charging in on Cro Cop and swinging wildly but that eventually hurt him. Cro Cop showed great composure as he picked his shots and landed them hard. Silva tasted the power in Cro Cop’s left leg numerous times while trying to charge in. After taking a kick he decided to try his luck on the ground but after failed takedown found Silva on the bottom with the big Croatian on top raining down bombs.

Cro Cop worked some very brutal ground and pound which consisted mainly of hammerfists and punches. After taking plenty of punishment Silva attempted to roll for an armbar but he failed. The ref then stepped in between them and took Silva to his corner as his left eye had almost swollen shut.

After about five minutes (felt like hours) Silva and the refs decided he was able to continue fighting. The ref restarted the fighters on the ground. Silva attempted to work some strikes from the bottom but they were ineffective so the ref stood the fighters up.

Silva quickly started to pursue Cro Cop throwing wild shots from all angles. Cro Cop did a nice job avoiding anything big and then he sized Silva up and landed a hard body kick. Silva tried charging in again but he ended up eating that same body kick. A little later Cro Cop sized Silva up and fired off his lightning quick left leg which caught the top of Silva’s head and sent him to the canvas.

Mirko Cro Cop quickly left the ring and headed for the back room while his opponent lay motionless on the canvas in a bloody heap.

Cro Cop’s opponent in the finals was decided in what ended up being a two round war. Both Barnett and Nogueira did enough to earn the win but in the end Josh Barnett was warranted the split decision victory.

In a fight that could have gone either way fans saw two fighters who both left it all in the ring. Barnett was able to score a knockdown on Nogueira at one point. Both guys also showcased their grappling skills as both Nogueira and Barnett had one another in trouble at various times in the fight.

In the end the judges felt that “The Babyface Assassin” did enough to warrant himself the decision and a third shot at his rival Mirko Cro Cop.

Next on the agenda were the finals which would slate former Pancrase and UFC champion Josh Barnett vs. Mirko Cro Cop.

The fight played out perfectly for Cro Cop and at times it looked a lot like his earlier fight against Wanderlei Silva.

Cro Cop was able to stuff most of Barnett’s takedowns and work his powerful strikes which had plenty of effect.

Barnett who entered the ring with lots of visible damage to his face was looking for one thing only and that was the clinch in the takedown. Cro Cop showed how good his takedown defence was by stuffing numerous takedowns and working his kicks and punches.

Early in the fight Barnett was able to open up a cut over the left eye of Cro Cop which forced the referee to call a halt to the bout to have it checked but they quickly restarted the action.

Late in the fight Cro Cop worked a hard three shot combo which ended with a liver shot that sent Barnett to the canvas. Cro Cop saw that his opponent was in trouble so he quickly pounced and started working some vicious ground and pound. Barnett’s face had eventually taken enough and he decided to tap out.

For the first time all evening we saw some emotion from Mirko Cro Cop as he made his way to his corner where he eventually collapsed as he was comforted by his teammates. For the first time in his fighting career Cro Cop had finally won a title.

It was nice to see the emotion coming from Cro Cop as the Pride president wrapped the huge Pride Absolute belt around his waist.

Next up on the slate for Mr. Cro Cop is a rematch with Fedor.

PRIDE Press Conference Notes

Yesterday Pride Fighting Championships held a press conference at the Fox Sports Grill in Irvine, California. The press conference featured the announcement of two fights along with the announcement of a many other fighters set to participate in the event.

The two fights that were announced were Mark Coleman versus Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua against Coleman’s teammate Kevin “The Monster” Randleman.

In an unexpected turn of events Pride officials called upon former undisputed heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson. Apparently Tyson and the Japanese promotion have come to some sort of agreement which will feature Tyson fighting in some sort of exhibition match in the future.

Finally it was announced that Pride superstars Josh Barnett, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Phil Baroni, Kazuyuki Fujita, Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva will participate on the October 21st card.

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