When Gabriel Gonzaga gave Mirko Filipovic a taste of his own medicine by knocking him out via head kick eight years ago at UFC 70, it was the first of six losses "Cro Cop" would suffer under the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) banner.
And the best of all time (says this guy).
Fast forward three years from his last fight inside the Octagon -- a knockout loss to Roy Nelson -- and Mirko finds himself signed to the world's largest mixed martial arts (MMA) organization once again. And his first fight back will be against none other than "Napao," who appears to be in line for some Croatian justice at UFC Fight Night 64 on April 11, 2015 in Krakow, Poland.
See their first staredown pic here.
While the PRIDE FC legend didn't guarantee a victory, he declared on The MMA Hour that he will die trying to beat the man who "Cro Copped" him.
His words (via MMA Fighting):
"It was one of the fights I will never forget, and I just want a rematch with him. I can't say I will beat him, but I will die trying. That's how I feel. I feel good right now. There are a few things I still want to do and definitely fighting Gabriel Gonzaga is one of them. I really believe that I'm a better fighter than Gabriel Gonzaga. I don't want to be a big mouth and I respect him. He's a great fighter. But I will do my best, definitely. He will do his best. We are going to perform a great show and the fans will be happy."
Mirko also revealed that his deal with UFC only runs for three bouts. After that, his combat sports career will come to an end, as he reveals he has no plants to continue fighting after he fulfills his UFC duties.
Duties that include getting some payback on some of the men who handed him losses inside the Octagon. Not looking too far ahead, "Cro Cop" has his sights set firmly on Gonzaga and is more than confident things will be much different this time around.
"I already studied all his fights after we fought. No big surprises. I know exactly what he's going to do. Things will be different this time. I really want that victory [against Gonzaga] more than anything. Believe me. More than anything."
One of the differences for Filipovic is his approach to the fight game, as he says he feels better than he has in a long time thanks to approaching his training with a smile on his face. And it shows, as Filipovic has won three of four since leaving UFC in 2011.
For more on Mirko's upcoming rematch against Gonzaga click here.