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Mirko 'Cro Cop' Targeting Return To K-1 Despite Retirement, Ruptured Bicep

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A retirement from MMA was only the beginning for Mirko "Cro Cop". Following a near-crippling surgery to repair a ruptured bicep tendon in his right arm, the legend is targeting a return to the K-1 circuit in 2012.

Mirko Cro Cop
Mirko Cro Cop

Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic may be retired from mixed martial arts, but his fighting career has yet to write its final chapter. In a recent interview with Croatia's Fight Channel, the MMA legend revealed his plans to transition back into K-1 competition.

"K-1 is the sport where I started," he explained. "This is my first love and I find K-1 more attractive and more suitable for our Croatian fans than MMA."

Nothing is set in stone at this time, but "Cro Cop" is targeting a return on March 10th at Croatia's Arena Zagreb. K-1 officials haven't confirmed an opponent, though the 37-year-old said he expects to face a top K-1 fighter.

Standing in Filipovic's way, however, will be a ruptured bicep tendon that nearly ended his athletic career. According to the Croatian, he injured his right arm five weeks out from his fight with Roy Nelson at UFC 137. Against the wishes of doctors, "Cro Cop" insisted on competing despite the fact that he couldn't feel his right arm during the bout. The result was almost disastrous.

"The doctors told me that I caught the last train with this operation," he somberly stated. "When the tendon divides from the bone, it just becomes shorter and shorter. That's why they pulled the tendon and screwed it in the bone with the titanium screw. But after a while, the tendon gets too short and this surgery is impossible. I would be crippled for the rest of my life."

The cast "Cro Cop" has been required to wear since the surgery is scheduled to be removed on December 20th. In the meantime, the fighter has busied himself by training his left arm and lower body, much to the dismay of doctors. He expects his right arm to be virtually useless by the end of the process, but is confident he can recover quickly.

While at times Filipovic considered a complete retirement from the brutal world of combat sports, in the end, the siren song of competition was too much to overcome.

"I am the kind of guy that always has some kind of ambitions. As long as my heart beats. I'm not sick ambitious and I don't want any kind of belt, but martial arts are everything to me. I train my whole life and everything I have came from this sport," he concluded. "This fire in me will last forever."