Famed heavyweight striker Mirko Filipovic (25-7-2) is reportedly considering a return to the Octagon to face fellow MMA transplant Ben Rothwell (30-7) at UFC 110, tentatively scheduled for the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia, on Feb. 21 according to Sherdog.com.
"Cro Cop" threw in the towel in his submission (verbal) loss to Junior dos Santos at UFC 103: "Franklin vs. Belfort" from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, on Sept. 19. He was beaten to the punch, and pretty much beat up, in what essentially turned out to be a striking match for two-plus rounds.
The Croatian waved off the Brazilian in the third after eating a brutal knee to the face that wiped out his vision. It marked his third loss inside the Octagon in five attempts — a far cry from the world beater who was scalping his opponents just three years ago under the Pride banner. In fact, he has not defeated a top-level fighter since he made Josh Barnett quit at "Final Conflict Absolute," which earned him the Pride FC 2006 Open Weight Grand Prix Championship.
According to Filipovic, he's battled depression and other psychiatric issues since the September loss and spoke of his inability to break a "mental block" that's prevented him from returning to his old self.
It's not unreasonable to think a knockout win over Rothwell could do more in one night than two years of ongoing therapy.
Like the Croat, "Big" Ben would like to erase the memories of his last fight. The former International Fight League (IFL) standout contested the timing of his TKO stoppage loss against Cain Velasquez in the co-main event at UFC 104: "Machida vs. Shogun" back on Oct. 24.
The Miletich Fighting Systems (MFS) product was on the receiving end of a one-sided beatdown that consisted of Velasquez taking him down, controlling him on the ground and punching him in the face en route to a second round loss. Rothwell contends that he was finally back to his feet and ready to turn things around until referee Steve Mazzagatti robbed him of his chance to pull off what would have been nothing short of a miraculous comeback.
He could conceivably get right back into the thick of things if he's able to retire Cro Cop -- or he may be updating his resume if Filipovic prevails.
UFC 110 is expected to feature International superstars Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva and Yoshihiro "Sexyama" Akiyama in a hard-hitting 185-pound brawl that pits sexy vs. psycho.
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more on this still-developing fight card.