Cro Cop: On To Japan, Fight Fedor, Then Back To The UFC?
Mirko Cro Cop unveils his future plans in a recent interview with a Croatian news site. Cro Cop plans to fight three fights with the Japanese upstart promotion DREAMS, then possibly fight Fedor Emelianenko in December. If all else fails with Fedor, its back to the UFC, with a renegotiated contract of course.
Why did you leave the UFC?
I just couldn’t wait until May.
But Dana White told the press he was waiting for you and not the other way around?
White obviously thought I was still on vacation but I notified him 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 my match in May. Besides I was HUNGRY for a fight and nervous (anxious) like a dog.
How did you come to an agreement with DREAM?
Soon after my conversation with Dana I got a call from DREAM. Altough I didn’t sign any contract we came to an agreement for 3 fights in March, June and September. I never had written contracts with the Japenese because we have always done business by verbal agreement (handshake).
What has drawn you to Dream?
The key thing was the opporunity to fight in March. Also Japan is where I built my name and in a way my second home.
What happened to your obligations towards the UFC?
I’m going to go back to the UFC without a doubt, altough my contract doesn’t bind me to do so. The date of return depends on a possible fight with Fedor. The fight should take place on 31st December if Fedor accepts. If that failes I’ll be back in the UFC by the end of this year.
The UFC has ‘agreed’ to let you go to the competition?
I have managed to come to terms with Dana and I’m thankful for his cooperation and understanding. I owe not only the UFC but especially my british fans who really supported me in my last two bouts. Not even in Japan have I received such support so I’m really sorry I was in a crisis back then.
With who did you want to fight in the UFC?
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.
Will you be training in the ring or in the cage?
I’m continuing to train in the cage. Transitioning from the cage to the ring is not a problem but the other way around requires adjustments. It seems all the Pride fighters
underperformed when they made the transition to the UFC.
So you didn’t take the transition from the ring to the octagon well?
I had fallen into some kind of psychological crisis. Even in the Sanchez fight I wasn’t my old self. Maybe I got saturated with fighting after the OWGP.
How do you explain this crisis?
It’s hard to explain, all I know is that 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.
Are you in your old form again?
Everything is alright now. The fire in me is back and I want to fight really bad. I’ve never felt better, I’m in excellent shape. Once I fought for my material excistance now i fight for pride.
Will there be a tv broadcast of your fights from DREAM?