MMA Odds and Ends for Wednesday: Cro Cop Returns To UFC

Mirko Cro Cop One of MMA’s legendary fighters is returning to the Octagon. The UFC has re-signed heavyweight Mirko Cro Cop, according to a report from Fighter’s Only’s John Joe O’Regan, which was later confirmed by the UFC. It’s assumed Cro Cop receieved a multi-fight deal. This is the third UFC stint for Cro Cop, who turns 41 in September. During his first UFC run in the UFC back in 2007, Cro Cop went 1-2 with a win over Eddie Sanchez and losses to Cheick Kongo and Gabriel Gonzaga. He then returned for a second UFC stint in 2009 and went 3-4 with wins over Pat Barry, Anthony Perosh and Mostapha Al-Turk and losses to Junior dos Santos, Brendan Schaub, Roy Nelson and Frank Mir. Since being released by the UFC for a second time in late 2011, Cro Cop has gone 3-1 overall fighting in Japan and Russia and recently knocked out Satoshi Ishii for a second time with a head kick to draw significant interest from both Bellator and the UFC. It’s rumored that Bellator was ready to sign Cro Cop to a contract, but the UFC swooped in at the last second to sign him instead. If Cro Cop had signed with Bellator it’s very likely he would have fought Kimbo Slice in his Bellator debut. In the UFC, though, it’s unknown who Cro Cop will fight now, but it’s possible he could fight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in a rematch from the PRIDE days between two fighters who have seen better days. As for my thoughts on the signing, I don’t like it. Cro Cop should not be in the UFC period, and the fact this signing is a reaction to Bellator giving him interest is pretty sad if you ask me. I know Cro Cop is a legend of the sport and I respect him, but his best days are long past him. Knocking out Ishii doesn’t mean much to me. It’s a pretty good win, but should it be enough to earn a third stint in the UFC? Not in my opinion. A lot of people are saying Cro Cop is a big name and will draw ratings, and while he is a popular commodity, if that’s the case why did the UFC ever cut him in the first place? Oh yeah, because he simply hasn’t performed in the Octagon in the past, and there’s no reason to think he will now at age 40. Cro Cop has been brutally knocked out five times in his career, including in his final three UFC fights, and even though he hasn’t been knocked out since 2011, if he fights someone in the UFC with power in his return he could be brutally finished yet again. I don’t know what to say. When Cro Cop went on his losing skid back in 2011, the fans couldn’t wait for the UFC to get rid of him. And now people are excited about it? Weird. I’ll reserve my final judgement until I actually see him step foot in the Octagon, but at this point I’m not a big fan of this signing.

Written by Adam Martin.

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