Cro Cop

Mirko Cro Cop says he has the upper hand over Gabriel Gonzaga before their UFC Fight Night rematch on Saturday at the Tauron Arena in Krakow, Poland.

The Croatian was knocked out by Gonzaga in 2007, courtesy of a stunning head kick that resembled Cro Cop’s own trademark finishes.

He said: “The man who loses a fight enters the rematch better prepared, smarter, and with a better desire to win. There are a few rematches I’d like but this wasn’t a fight I asked for – Gonzaga was the first opponent the UFC offered me.”

Returning to the promotion after a four-year hiatus, he added: “Did I know I’d be back in the UFC? Maybe yes, maybe no. I feel really good and I’ve been training hard with Stipe Miocic. The last spar we had, we fought eachother like crazy. We were both bloody, we tried to take eachother’s heads off.

“But in one moment I saw my kid watching from outside the cage. I was upset in case he saw his father fall down. In other sports you can bring your wife, you can bring your mother, but this is different.”

With an MMA career stretching 15 years – not to mention his kickboxing wars in K1 and Glory – the 40-year-old still hasn’t set a date for when he’ll hang up the gloves.

“Sometimes I train for 35 minutes without a break. Whether I’m 30, 40 or 50 it doesn’t matter. I bet I can do more burpees than anyone else on this card. I feel good and I’ll know when to stop whenever I feel pain after training.”

Cro Cop and Gonzaga’s heavyweight rematch makes up the main event for UFC Fight Night Krakow, and with both men looking to leap up the rankings, take a look at Crocop’s full interview below.

Article by Alistair Hendrie/photo by Jorden Curran