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Mirko Cro Cop vs. Junior dos Santos Possible for UFC 103

Mirko Cro Cop FilipovicAs speculated earlier Wednesday, heavyweight up-and-comer Junior dos Santos has told GracieMag that he’s likely to fight veteran Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic at UFC 103 on September 19 in Dallas.

“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.

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[Pictured: Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic]

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