According to Mirko Flipovic’s official website and Facebook fan page, the former K1, Pride, and UFC competitor is returning to the UFC. Reports of Bellator making an offer to Cro Cop (30-11-2, 1 NC) emerged, and the UFC caught wind of Bellator’s attempt and stepped in and made a larger offer to the Croatian superstar.
Flipovic and the UFC parted ways when he lost his third straight fight in the UFC to Roy Nelson back in 2011. Since his post UFC departure, Cro Cop has fought in Japan, going 3-1 including back-to-back TKO victories over Olympic Judoka Satoshi Ishii (with the most recent win coming on New Year’s Eve).
Cro Cop will be joining another former Pride and UFC superstar in Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, who the UFC has recently signed away from Bellator. These moves made it apparent that the UFC does not want their former big named stars to go to their main rival promotion, who have been picking up fighters like Tito Ortiz and Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson in order to bring in big ratings. Despite of their age and point of their careers, Bellator has proven with Ortiz that the fans will still watch, and he can draw in big buy rates, the same can be true with Kimbo. Signing away Rampage and Cro Cop could help reduce Bellator’s emergence.
There is no word as to when we will see Cro Cop’s return match in the UFC. During his stint in the UFC, Cro Cop had struggled, going an overall 4-6, with five of his six losses coming via stoppages. We will see how the 40-year old Cro Cop will be utilized in his return to the UFC. A fight against another striker such as Andrei Arlovski would be very entertaining.