Overeem: Cro Cop Bout 'Definitely Happening'

By Tim Leidecker Aug 30, 2008
Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem (Pictures) confirmed to Sherdog.com that he will meet former Pride Open Weight Grand Prix winner Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (Pictures) at Dream 6 on Sept. 23 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

“The fight is definitely happening, and I’m really glad,” the 28-year-old Dutchman said. “I am already training very hard, and I’m 100 percent certain that it will not go the distance. I don’t care if it is going to be by knockout or by submission, I don’t want the fight to go to a judges’ decision. I want to finish Mirko Cro Cop.”

Overeem would not divulge if he had received a contract yet for the heavyweight bout.

Should the fight come to fruition, it would be Filipovic’s first appearance inside a ring since his first-round obliteration of overmatched Japanese grappler Tatsuya Mizuno (Pictures) in March. Overeem, meanwhile, has stayed busy in recent months, as he knocked out Korean Ssireum fighter Tae Hyun Lee (Pictures) in June and submitted dangerous New Zealand kickboxer Mark Hunt (Pictures) in July.

The rivalry between Cro Cop and Overeem turned personal when the Dutchman started calling out Filipovic publicly, beginning with an interview on Sherdog.com on June 12. Overeem has remained persistent about making the bout happen, challenging the Croatian on the house microphone after each one of his wins.

After a proposed fight with Jerome LeBanner (Pictures) and grappling match with Ralek Gracie (Pictures) failed to materialize this summer, Cro Cop -- who turns 34 in a little more than two weeks -- opted to have surgery on his knee and elbow in early July. Following six weeks of rehabilitation, Filipovic traveled to Amsterdam, Holland. There, he began preparing for his Sept. 23 bout with Overeem, working alongside Remy Bonjansky, Gilbert Yvel (Pictures) and legendary trainer Ivan Hyppolite at Vos Gym.

Struggling to keep its television ratings on TBS respectable, the Japan-based Dream promotion hopes the Filipovic-Overeem match can help meet the demands of one of the country’s major commercial broadcasters and its advertising partners.
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