WSOF President Ray Sefo hasn’t had a professional fight since 2013, but it seems that the right opponent might just be the thing to draw him back.
In light of Wanderlei Silva’s withdrawal from an open-weight grand prix quarterfinal with Mirko Filipovic (32–11–2) at Dec. 29’s Rizin FF 3 event, Sefo (2–2) said that, given sufficient time to prepare, he would like to get back a loss suffered to “Cro Cop” in a striking contest back in 2012.
“One of these days I hope somebody offers me that fight with a full camp.” Sefo told MMAjunkie Radio.
Now 45, Sefo, a veteran kickboxer who’s dabbled in MMA as a fighter, also explained the unfavorable circumstances behind his first matchup with the Croatian striker — a bout that headlined the “Final Fight” event at Arena Zagreb in Zagreb, Croatia.
Sefo said he got the call four weeks in advance of that 2012 fight, while he was assisting with UFC middleweight Vitor Belfort’s training in Brazil. He then accompanied Evan Dunham and Martin Kampmann to their respective UFC bouts in Chicago (against Nik Lentz, at UFC on FOX 2) and Australia (against Thiago Alves, at UFC on FX 2) before departing for his own fight in Croatia.
“So Jay Hieron and myself — of course and the team — we get back to Las Vegas,” Sefo recalled. “Twelve hours later, we get back on the plane flying to Croatia. Three days later fight ‘Cro Cop,’ and (I) went the distance with him.
“I thought I won the fight. Listen, it’s his hometown. But that’s how it happened.”
They fought to an unanimous decision on what was Filipovic’s first home country fight in more than a decade, after he’d announced his likely retirement from MMA. Sefo was told that would be Filipovic’s last fight, and, having never faced the fellow K-1 legend before, he couldn’t waste the opportunity.
As it turned out, it wasn’t Filipovic’s last fight — neither in kickboxing nor MMA. In fact, after un-retiring a couple of times, with a two-year USADA suspension in the mix, “Cro Cop” has gone 5–1 in his MMA career, his most recent win a first-round submission over Hyun Man Myung in September.
Had he known that Filipovic would still be around for a while then, Sefo said he would have turned the fight down.
“He’s the only fighter I didn’t fight in K-1,” Sefo said. “So, when I got that phone call and the promoter was like, ‘This is going to be his last fight and then he’s done,’ I’m like, ‘You know what? I’ll take it.’
“But it really kind of pissed me off because they lied to me about it being his last fight. Because if they had said, ‘We couldn’t find an opponent,’ I’d have said, ‘No, give me a good full camp, and I’ll fight him.’
“But hey, that’s how it is. It is what it is. You put it down to experience, and you move on.”
For more on WSOF’s upcoming schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.
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