It's so hard to say goodbye.
After losing to Roy Nelson at UFC 137 via third round technical knockout (TKO) last October, "Cro Cop" announced his retirement from mixed martial arts (MMA) after 10 years in the game. That retirement, however, was short lived as Mirko decided that he wanted one more attempt to try and go out on top.
On March 10, 2012, the ex-Croatian cop went back to his kickboxing roots as he took on fellow kickboxing legend Ray Sefo, in a K-1 rules kickboxing match in Mirko's hometown of Zagreb, Croatia. When it was all said and done and the final bell rang, Mirko had done enough to defeat Sefo and in the process, went on top in front of his friends and family, capping his fight career in a perfect fairy-tale ending he so long desired.
Or so we thought.
K-1 today announced the lineup for its upcoming "K-1 Rising 2012 - K-1 World Max Final 16 2012" event, which is set to go down in Madrid, Spain on May 27, 2012 and lo and behold, Mirko Filipovic was amongst the names listed set to compete in the all-striking extravaganza.
Get the details from Reuters, after the jump:
"K-1 Rising 2012 - K-1 World Max Final 16 2012" Announces Fight Card
K-1 Global Holdings Limited has announced the Fight Card for the May 27, "K-1 Rising 2012 - K-1 World Max Final 16 2012" in Madrid, Spain, the first K-1 elimination tournament of the year. Fighters compete for a share of two million dollars in prize money.
K-1 lets a wide array of the world's best stand up fighters square off, bringing together their own techniques born from Karate, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Taekwondo, Savate, San Shou, and other martial arts.
1. Mike Zambidis (Greece) vs Chahid Oulad El Hadj (Morocco)
2. Abraham Roqueñi (Spain) vs Andy Souwer (Holland)
4. Harut Grigorian (Belgium) vs Murthel Groenhart (Suriname)
5. Longern Superpro Samui (Thailand) vs Chris Ngimbi (Congo)
6. Gago Drago (Armenia) vs Andy Ristie (Suriname)
7. Xu Yan (China) vs Yasuhiro Kido (Japan)
8. Yuji Nashiro (Japan) vs Reece McAllister (UK)
Mosab Amrani (Morocco) vs Zeben Diaz (Spain)
1. Badr Hari (Morocco) vs Anderson "Braddock" Silva (Brazil)
2. Mirko Cro Cop (Croatia) vs Loren Javier Jorge (Spain)
3. Daniel Ghita (Romania) vs Paul Slowinski (Australia)
4. Rico Verhoeven (Holland) vs Sergii Lashchenko (Ukraine)
Perhaps the sweet taste of victory was all Mirko needed to revive the fighting spirit in his 37 year old body one more time.
But is he rolling the dice one too many times?
Loren Javier Jorge, Mirko's opponent, is no slouch, with 68 victories to his credit to go along with nine kickboxing championships and could prove a tough test for Filipovic who is 10 years his elder.
Anyone think "Cro Cop" is pressing his luck by competing again? Or will he surprise everyone tuning in on Memorial Day weekend?