UFC and Pride veteran Mirko Cro Cop is talking about a possible return to MMA. The Croatian fighter had some interesting comments he shared with USA Today regarding a possible return to MMA in 2013:
If you ask me, when I look deep into my soul, of course I would like to fight MMA again. People don't get it. Martial arts is my life.
Cro Cop retired from the UFC last year after a loss to Roy Nelson. While he has not competed in MMA since, he has gone 2-0 as a kickboxer, including a win over K-1 veteran Ray Sefo. He's currently scheduled for the 2012 K-1 Heavyweight Grand Prix, set to take place in October and December this year. Right now, Cro Cop's plan is to still compete in the GP, but potentially get back to MMA afterwards.
K-1 was my first love, but even as recently as this week I was sparring kickboxing, and it was so difficult not to throw them on the ground and look to ground and pound. Even while I'm preparing for the K-1 grand prix, I'm training on the ground with grappling several times each week.
Cro Cop says he's open to different MMA offers, which is a good thing as I don't see him in the UFC at this point. He's always been a good fit for Japan, but with Dream seemingly shut down, there isn't a viable company for him over there at this point either.
I actually see the best fit for him as M-1. With the retirement of Fedor Emelianenko, Cro Cop could step into Fedor's role and provide some nice Heavyweight super fights in front of his European fans. And though I will always be a fan, I no longer need to see Mirko in there with the very best MMA Heavyweights in the world. An easier schedule in M-1 or the equivalent sounds like a much better way to round out his career than to be a stepping stone for the young crop of UFC fighters.
With another shot at the K-1 crown, plus his eye on MMA, it seems like our days of seeing Cro Cop compete are far from over. Let's see how the next stage of his lengthy career plays out.
Check out the full USA Today article for lots more from Cro Cop.