With Bellator MMA’s recent signing of mixed martial arts stars, there’s speculation that Pride Openweight Grand Prix champion and IGF titleholder Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic might be the next star to jump to the promotion. Bellator president Scott Coker said he is interesting in signing the Croatian sensation.
Cro Cop hasn’t fought a MMA bout in the United States since his third-round TKO loss to Roy Nelson at UFC 137 in 2011. Filipovic said he would retire from mixed martial arts after the defeat. A year later he submitted Shinichi Suzukawa at Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2012. Recently he had back-to-back TKO wins against Japanese star Satoshi Ishii – winning and defending the IGF title in the process.
Cro Cop’s greatest MMA moments have been in Japan and I think he should continue and finish his career there. Coming to the United States and fighting for Bellator might make him more money – though I’m sure he’s getting a lot of dough in the Land of the Rising Sun – and a chance to fight for a world title – which he already has if you count the IGF title – but coming to America might result in him tarnishing his legacy in the eyes of his U.S. fans. He’s also more comfortable with fighting in a ring as opposed to a cage.
It’s Cro Cop’s decision but if I were him, I’d stay in Japan and continue to earn more success.