Barring a firefight that reignites interest in both Chuck Liddell and Rich Franklin, the ‘big deal’ fight on UFC 115 is Mirko Crocop vs Pat Barry … a ‘big deal’ not because it looks especially promising or anything, but because it’s Mirko’s last fight on his UFC contract:
“This is the last fight on the present contract,” he said. “I have to finish this fight, then we’ll see.”
The weight of the decision will surely depend on how the Croatian performs in the fight with Barry. Currently, Cro Cop sits with a 3-3 record in the Octagon, while also picking up two wins and one no contest outside of the UFC in between fights for the promotion.
The plan is to face Barry and then sit down with the UFC brass and see what the future holds.
“I’ll have to sit with Lorenzo and Dana and see about extending the contract, but first of all I’m concentrating on this fight, and I don’t want to talk much before that,” Cro Cop stated.
Mirko is really scraping the bottom of the barrel here. The fact that he’s in a must win fight against Pat freaking Barry kinda tells you everything you need to know about his current career situation. But in addition to changing up his training schedule, Crocop is also claiming that his knee is back, and that means so is his Headkick Of Death:
“I had a very bad injury two years ago. The knee was completely broken. I had three surgeries for the knee and of course it reflected on my kicking. I was afraid to kick, it was still very fresh. But I decided to take the risk for the [UFC 99] Cologne fight one year ago,” he said yesterday.
“If you noticed I didn’t even try to do a kick with my German opponent [Al-Turk], and I didn’t try – or I tried only once to kick Junior dos Santos because I didn’t feel very stable in kicking. I didn’t feel like my leg was good so I just didn’t kick it. So of course it frustrated me a lot but it was my decision to enter the cage. It was my decision to accept the fight. Nobody forced me to do that. But thank god it’s behind me now and my legs are okay now.”
“The wound was still fresh. It was only less than six months after the surgery so it was ‘suicide’ according to the doctor. But I decided to take the fight and I decided to take another fight with Dos Santos, which wasn’t a smart idea in that condition. But I’m just a fighter, you know, and I like the sport. I like fighting. I like competition but obviously you need to make decisions with the head, not with the heart.”
“But the leg is finally completely recovered. It was a very hard injury, you know, so it really took time. Now it is one and a half years since I had the operation and now it’s finally okay. Now it’s finally okay. And finally a few months ago I started with the full [power] kicking.”
Because I’m a total Crocop nuthugger, I’m going to beleive that all this is true and he’s actually recovered in the hopes that he can pull of a Shogun-esque rise to the top. That all starts with knocking Pat Barry da fuck out.