2006 PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix Champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic will be filling in for injured fellow PRIDE veteran Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira this September 25th at UFC 119. Filipovic will be taking on former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir in the main event and things have been heating up between the two fighters. Mir has taken his usual confident/cocky approach in his pre-fight interviews and appears to have gotten under “Cro Cop’s” skin, who said recently that Mir should keep quiet and hope that he doesn’t get knocked out come September 25th.
“He has an American attitude and approach to the fight,” Filipovic said of Mir. “Big mouth and big statements. I think he should better keep his mouth shut.”
Many believe “Cro Cop” to be on the downswing of his career but with two straight UFC wins (over Anthony Perosh and Pat Barry) under his belt, “Cro Cop” is looking for a title run.
“I’ve spent so many years fighting,” he said. “I’m a Pride Heavyweight Champion. I made many big victories but to take the UFC heavyweight belt I think definitely to be the top of my career.”
Filipovic acknowledges that Mir is a higher caliber fighter than some of the men he has recently defeated, but he doesn’t believe that bars him from the fate that so many of his past opponents have met.
“I’m aware that he’s a better fighter than Mostapha Al-Turk and Anthony Perosh, definitely,’ Filipovic asserted. “He’s more skilled but he should pray to God not to be knocked out.”
Mir is a decorated Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt and could look to win the fight on the mat against a dangerous striker like “Cro Cop.” Again, the former Croatian parliamentarian acknowledges this but warns that Mir may have a harder time on the mat than he believes.
“I believe he will try to take me down,” said Filipovic. “At least in his mind maybe he thinks that he will have an advantage on the ground. We will see.”
Filipovic also warned Mir not to take him lightly, believing that he is a threat despite the fact that he has taken the fight on shorter notice than he would have liked.
“He shouldn’t underestimate me at all,” said “Cro Cop.” “He shouldn’t underestimate me but if it makes him happy to talk nonsense like that, to threaten–he should save his breath for the fight.”
“Cro Cop” and Mir will square off later this month at UFC 119 which will air live via pay-per-view from the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.