Enter the Court will try to produce the best in-depth look of the KSW‘s Zagreb card with fighter interviews, fan and pro predictions and will essentially aim at providing you the freshest of info regarding the event in a serial Road to Zagreb!
In the third episode of Road to Zagreb, we talked to the only Bosnian heavyweight who fought in the UFC, Denis ”The Menace” Stojnić (19-3, 1 NC) who is going up against a top Croatian heavyweight prospect from Cro Cop Team, Ante Delija (16-3)!
1. You have been called up for the KSW’s 51st event, its first time in Balkans, in Zagreb. Tell me what were your first impressions and how did you come to the agreement with the organization?
My manager, Ivan Dijaković, who I have been friends with for the past 15 years have discussed the possibility of signing with different organizations after my two-year absence, such as UFC and Bellator. I think my loss to Struve was a shame for the organization because of the rules which were stated to me before the fight, with Struve proving he is not a true fighter or a true athlete. After the UFC stint, I have won 8 consecutive fights with one No Contest against Ricco Rodriguez in Sarajevo. In my last fight I beat M’Pumbu, a very tough fighter, who fought in Bellator and KSW before. I have made a two-year break due to personal reasons and am now making a return! I have signed a four-fight contract with the KSW and was supposed to fight Jeff Silva in my first fight, but that was cancelled for some reason.
2. You were supposed to fight your KSW Zagreb opponent at the beginning of 2018 in Dubrovnik. What happened then and how do you feel about him as a fighter? You have even had some friction with his coach, legendary Mirko Cro Cop?
Ante is 10 years younger than me, but that doesn’t mean much in the heavyweight division. He is a good fighter but I doubt that he is stronger than me, or that he wrestles better than me or that he can take punches as well as me. I think his focus will be high-intensity pressure but I don’t see him keeping it up for full three rounds. Our match was cancelled due to him signing for Rizin. As far as Mirko goes, I was offered to do a match with Mirko but it has never happened even though I wanted to fight him. He has after that won the K-1 Grand Prix in Zagreb, I like to refer as ‘fake’ because it didn’t host any top talent except for Badr Hari.
3. You have been in negotiations with different MMA organizations in your absence period, such as Bellator. What was the reason you decided on KSW? What is their plan for you on the roster? What do you think about the rest of the card?
The owner of the organization and my manager have a great relationship. Ivan and I have signed a four-fight contract and if everything works out well, the last fight on my contract should be a title fight. They think I am an attractive fighter and can contribute to their roster. My fight against Struve is still considered the bloodiest fight in UFC history! This is an awesome card, KSW has some amazing fighters. I consider Roberto Soldić the best Croatian MMA fighter! Erko Jun is winning his fight 100%! He is always improving and has already become a very good MMA fighter. KSW is the best European promotion and has the second best production in the world of MMA. I also think Vaso versus Mankowsky will be a great fight since Vaso is a showman but also a great fighter. I expect him and ‘Joker’ Ilić to win their matches.
4. And finally, how do you feel about KSW coming to the Balkans? How big of an event is this for the region?
This is huge! I even talked to the organizers to do an event in Dvorana Zetra in Sarajevo. The interest is huge, a lot of people have asked me for tickets. People from Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and even diaspora from Germany and Austria have contacted me saying they will be there. On November 9th the whole world will be in Zagreb!