“I think I’ll fight September 19. They took me off the August 29 show,” said dos Santos. “My opponent’s changed. I’ll probably face Cro Cop. If I beat him I’ll be in really good standing. If that’s truly the case, I’m guaranteed on the main card and in the main event of the evening. If I were to fight now it wouldn’t be on the main card.
“To me it’s incredible. When they asked me if they could change the fight date I was a bit bothered, because I wanted to fight right away. I’ve been away for some time now. But the Fertitta brothers asked me and I accepted,” he continued. “After that I found out it would be against Cro Cop and was overjoyed. It’ll be a big opportunity in my career. Lots of good things have happened in my life and this is one more. I’m going to make the most of it.”
Dos Santos (8-1), who’s never gone the distance in any of his 9 career bouts, is currently riding a 3-fight win streak that includes back-to-back first-round knockouts of Fabrico Werdum and Stefan Struve inside the Octagon. “Cigano” had been scheduled to fight Justin McCully in late-August on the UFC 102 preliminary card, but news broke on Wednesday that he was pulled from the event in favor of a better matchup.
Nearly two years after leaving the Octagon following back-to-back losses to Gabriel Gonzaga and Cheick Kongo in 2007, Cro Cop (25-6-2) returned to the UFC in June, defeating Mostapha Al-Turk via first-round TKO at UFC 99. Filipovic’s future in the UFC was jeopardized when he nearly signed with DREAM following the victory, his third-straight, but UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta was apparently able to convince the popular veteran to return to the Octagon with a contract he “couldn’t refuse”.
Rich Franklin is likely to headline UFC 103 against an opponent to-be-announced with Mike Swick vs. Martin Kampmann, Josh Koscheck vs. Frank Trigg, and Efrain Escudero vs. Cole Miller also rumored for the card.
[Pictured: Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic]