In the build-up to his UFC 119 headline fight with Mirko ‘Cro Cop‘ Filipovic, former heayweight champion Frank Mir has been in typically outspoken mood, confidently stating that he feels he’s better than the Croatian in all aspects of the sport.
It seems that comments like that has lit a fire under his adversary.
“He has an American attitude and approach to fighting, with the big mouth and big statements, you know. I think he should better keep his mouth shut first of all,” warns the former PRIDE heavyweight champion in his pre-fight interview for UFC.com.
That’s not to say that Cro Cop doesn’t respect what his opponent brings to the table, but he’s keen to remind him that he is a dangerous fighter as well.
“I am aware that he is a better fighter than (Cro Cop’s previous UFC opponents) Mustapha Al Turk and Anthony Perosh, definitely. He is more skilled but he should pray [to] god not to be knocked out.”
While it’s clear that Cro Cop would ideally like to keep the fight standing, he knows that Mir may have other ideas.
“I believe he will try to take me down. At least in his mind maybe he thinks he might have the advantage on the ground, but we will see.”
Last year Filipovic’s UFC career appeared to be grinding to an abrupt halt after losing in three out his previous four visits to the octagon. The fighter himself admitted at the time that he was having difficulty getting motivated and was struggling to overcome some mental blocks in the cage.
Since then however he has slowly but surely worked his way back to winning ways, including a confidence boosting win over Pat Barry at UFC 115 in June.
Now he’s even entertaining the possibility of making a run at the title.
“I’ve spent so many years fighting and I’m a PRIDE heavyweight champion and I made many big victories, but to take UFC heavyweight belt I think definitely it would be the top of my career.”
The first step towards accomplishing that goal would be to beat Mir, and you get the feeling that is something that Cro Cop would relish.
“He shouldn’t underestimate me, but if it makes him happy to talk nonsense like that – the threat – he should save his breath for the fighting,” he says.