Zagreb was abuzz at the downtown Doubletree Hilton Hotel for the official GLORY 14 pre-fight press conference. Hometown legend Mirko Filipovic and Remy Bonjasky were on the dais to promote their main event, which takes place Saturday night (March 8, 2014) at Arena Zagreb and airs across the U.S. on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET.
Also joining them were GLORY CEO Andrew Whitaker, Fight Channel's Orsat Zovko, fellow Croatian fighters Igor Jurkavic and Marlon Brestovac and their opponents, Michael Duut and Jahfarr Wilnis.
Before talk could begin on the rematch between "Cro Cop" and Bonjasky, who met for the first time in the K-1 World Grand Prix finals back in 2002 in Fukuoka, Japan, "The Flying Gentleman" opened up about Saturday's fight most likely being his last.
"I've been thinking a lot about when my last fight is going to be," Bonjasky said. "Now I've built up a good career behind the scenes and I believe that there is a right moment. I had my first K-1 fight against Mirko and now he will be my last in GLORY, so I think that is the perfect way to end my career."
Bonjasky said he didn't want to have an easy fight his last time out, even though plenty of fighters have done that. He gets a chance to kill two birds with one stone at GLORY 14: he'll go out on a victory against a top fighter, and avenge a loss from earlier in his career.
"If you retire, you can choose a weak opponent, beat him up and then retire," Bonjasky said. "But as a fighter, as a champion, I don't want my last fight to be against some rookie. If I lose, at least I lost to one of the toughest fighters."
Despite having fought in over 70 professional fights in kickboxing and MMA, Filipovic has only fought in Zagreb five times. The No. 9-ranked GLORY heavyweight spoke about fighting in his native city.
"There is maybe more pressure because it's my home city, but on the other hand I don't have to travel and change time zones," Filipovic explained. "There is a certain pressure, but I can cope with it. And to hear the audience is a special thing. I love to hear it. To have many special friends surround me is a special feeling. I felt this before in my career of course, internationally, but to have it as the home crowd is very special."
In addition to having fought each other, both Filipovic and Bonjasky have trained together and have been sparring partners several times in their respective careers. They both gave their thoughts on their familiarity with one another when the subject was broached by MMAmania.com.
"It is true, we did fight before and we were sparring partners also," Filipovic said. "I have my style and he has his. We know each other and there are no secrets. This doesn't matter. The crucial thing is going to be a failure in concentration or a little movement going wrong. This is what leads to the knockout."
"It's in the details," Bonjasky added. "Everyone knows his left high kick and everybody knows my jumping knee and all that. He knows. Everybody knows. So it's all in the details. Like he says, there will be a moment that he is not concentrated and there is going to be a moment that I'm not concentrated."
"At that moment when we strike and when we kick and when we hit, that's going to be the difference and we are going to be make a real spectacle of it. We are going to work hard and we are going to really try to beat each other up. You are going to see a spectacle tomorrow."
GLORY CEO Andrew Whitaker said the promotion is "fortunate and blessed to have this headline match-up at the top of the card for GLORY 14." And as far as GLORY making a return to Zagreb, Whitaker said, "I think you know the answer to that question, and that is yes."
"I've seen a lot of promotional organizations over a long period of time and Orsat Zovko's organizations is one of the finest promotional organizations that I have come across in my time in the sport and entertainment business," he continued.
"It's very clear to us that Croatia and certainly the city of Zagreb has also been extremely supportive of our being here as well. We will be coming back to Zagreb and other parts of Eastern Europe as well."