Mirko Filipovic is back.
The longtime mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter is once again cutting his retirement short to lace his gloves up a few more times as he plans to participate in RIZIN FF's Open Weight Gran Prix, which is set to pop off on Sept., 25, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan.
From the official press release:
RIZIN FF, the combat sports federation headed by former PRIDE Fighting Championships boss Nobuyuki Sakakibara, announced at a press conference today that all-time great Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic (MMA: 31-11-1, 1 NC; Kickboxing: 23-8, 12 KO's) will come out of retirement and return to Japan, where his legendary career was born, to compete in the highly-anticipated, 16-man, open weight "Grand Prix" tournament that begins in Tokyo on Sunday, Sept. 25.
A former PRIDE and K-1 Grand Prix tournament champion, Filipovic earned his place as one of the greatest martial arts combatants in history with an elite set of striking skills that helped him earn the most first round finishes as well as the most head kick knockouts in PRIDE history.
"Cro Cop" was set to fight at UFC FIght Night 79 in November of 2015, but after he came down with an injury, he decided to call it quits altogether. A few weeks later, Mirko was flagged by United States Anti-Dopng Agency (USADA) for a potential violation.
Mirko will joing former UFC and PRIDE FC stablemate Wanderlei Silva at the Open Weight Grand Prix, which will also include longtime MMA legend Kazuyuki Fujita. It was also revealed that Silva would get a bye in the first round of the tournament.
If the stars align, we could see Filipovic vs. Silva 3, as the two men last went toe-to-toe at PRIDE's Open Weight Grand Prix in 2006 which saw "Cro Cop" knockout "The Axe Murderer" via head kick in the very first round.
In 2002, the two men fought to a draw at PRIDE 20.