01 November 2011
Following his loss to Roy Nelson this past Saturday night Mirko “Cro Crop” Filipovic somberly announced his retirement from the sport of MMA. The former K-1 kickboxer and PRIDE legend has been fighting professionally since 1996 so bear in mind that fighting career spanning over a decade in the fight game is an eternity on the body. 37 years old may not seem like an unfathomably old age to be fighting at but when you consider the absolute wars Cro Cop has been in against some of the best fighters in the world, and, well you can’t really blame the man for calling it quits after a truly remarkable career.
Of course, his recent unimpressive string of fights in the UFC has left some of the newer MMA fans, let’s call them the uniformed, questioning why such reverence is awarded to the former Croatian special officer. But if you were to see Cro Cop in his prime, when he was knocking people out with highlight reel head kicks in PRIDE, then you would know why the former kickboxer-turned-MMA legend enjoys a legion of hardcore fans.
Cro Cop’s retirement is bittersweet to a fan like me. I loved watching Filipovic kick the holy hell out of his opponents but the fact is that the six surgeries he’s had to undergo in recent times have left him a shell of his former self. Cro Cop will be missed in the cage but his legend is already etched in MMA lore.