Mirko 'Cro Cop' Filipovic Set to Return to Combat One Last Time

Sean SmithAnalyst IJanuary 22, 2012

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

After a loss to Roy Nelson at UFC 137, his third consecutive defeat, 37-year-old Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic announced his retirement from MMA. Though we will never see Filipovic inside the Octagon again, it has been confirmed that Filipovic will compete one final time,

Through his Twitter account, Ray Sefo confirmed that he would serve as Filipovic's final opponent in a K-1 rules fight. The bout will bring Filipovic's career full circle, as the Croatian will return to the sport that gave him his start.

The bout will be held in Filipovic's hometown of Zagreb, Croatia on March 10. According to Sefo, tickets for the event will be made available to an audience of 25,000.

Filipovic has not competed in kickboxing since April 2003, when he left the sport on a four-fight winning streak to focus solely on MMA. Prior to hanging up his kickboxing gloves, Filipovic was a two-time K-1 World Grand Prix runner-up.

Meanwhile, the 40-year-old Sefo has remained somewhat active in kickboxing. Though much of his time is now spent coaching at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Sefo competed in kickboxing as recently as October 2010, when he was defeated by Tyrone Spong via unanimous decision.

More recently, Sefo made an unsuccessful attempt to return to MMA, facing Valentijn Overeem in February 2011. A fish out of water on the ground, Sefo was submitted with a neck crank less than two minutes into the bout.

Rumors of a final "Cro Cop" fight circled shortly after his loss to Nelson in October 2011, but many believed the Croatian would be given an easy opponent to assure victory in a final farewell. With 56 kickboxing victories, Sefo is far from a sure win for Filipovic.

This will undoubtedly be a fight that both fighters take extremely seriously, as a win would make for a rather ideal exit from combat sports for either competitor. 


Sean Smith is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. For the latest insight and updates on everything MMA, you can follow Sean on Twitter @SeanSmithMMA.