Ahead of his bout with Anthony Smith, light heavyweight prospect Aleksandar Rakic was seen training with legendary fighter Mirko Cro Cop. He recently opened up about how this happened, and what it meant for him.
At 28 years of age, Rakic is considered to be a legitimate prospect in the somewhat shallow light heavyweight division. He has gone 4-1 in the UFC, with his most recent fight being a close, split decision loss to Volkan Oezdemir. Next he will be fighting for the first time in 2020, taking on former title challenger Anthony Smith, in the main event of the upcoming August 29th Fight Night card.
Aleksandar Rakic Got To Train With Mirko Cro Cop
Ahead of his main event contest, the Austrian Aleksandar Rakic got to train with Mirko Cro Cop. Cro Cop is a former heavyweight champion, and true legend of combat sports. Speaking with Luke Thomas, Aleksandar explained what it meant to him to work with such an icon, and how the whole process came together in the first place.
“I did my whole camp in Zagreb, Croatia, at the American Top Team,” Rakic said. “We had a great facility there, we had a big UFC cage, we had good sparring partners. Me and my team spent two months there. Cro Cop lives in Zagreb and he has his own gym there.
“It was like a dream came true for me, you know?” Rakic continued. “When I was training there, I talked to my coaches and I was like ‘I need to visit Cro Cop, I need to train with me and I need to talk to him.’ He is one of my idols. I’ve been watching Cro Cop since Pride. I dropped him a message, and I asked him ‘Hey can I come to your gym, can I train with you?’ and he says ‘Yes, of course you can come.’
“I came there, I trained with Cro Cop. I wrestled with him, I grappled. He was holding my pads. He gave me some instructions and advice, and it was like a dream come true.”
🔊Aleksandar Rakić discusses training with Mirko Cro Cop ahead of his fight with Anthony Smith on Saturday at #UFCVegas8 👊#TLTS@lthomasnews pic.twitter.com/50lTE7cMRD
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) August 26, 2020
It is certainly a big deal that someone with the status of Mirko Cro Cop would train with someone like Aleksandar Rakic. The Croatian is one of the best kickboxers MMA has ever seen, and he will surely be able to pass on some serious knowledge to the up and coming fighter.