Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic — the former number two ranked heavyweight and star of the critically acclaimed film Ultimate Force — says he will finally be returning to the UFC at their June show in Germany. His opponent will be none other than Mustapha al Turk, a 6-4 veteran of the UK’s Cage Rage promotion who lost his first bid in the Octagon to the big, dark, and nutpunching force that is Cheick Kongo. This is a ‘gimme’ fight if there ever was one. Here’s what Cro Cop had to say via his official web site:
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.
I don’t know about you, but that last line makes me chuckle a bit. The insane amount of money the UFC agreed to pay Cro Cop during his last stint was thought justified because it was assumed he would claim the heavyweight title and become the next Chuck Liddell in the process. That assumption proved to be about as wrong as senior citizen porn, so I think it’s safe to say that the Croatian does indeed owe Dana White and the UFC “a lot” from their first deal. The question is whether he’ll be able to deliver.
No matter how badly Cro Cop let me down in the past by losing to Gonzaga and Kongo, there’s no way I believe al Turk will amount to anything more than a punching bag that bleeds. A victory would put the former anti-terrorism squad leader in a fight with someone who matters. Does he still have what it takes to beat and batter a legitimate opponent? We’ll all have to wait and see, but I sure as shit hope so.