UFC 137 pre-fight press conference at the New York New York Hotel and Casino on October 27, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. via UFC.com
The career of Cro Cop is no more. Following a 3rd round TKO loss to Roy Nelson at UFC 137: Penn vs. Diaz, Mirko Cro Cop announced his retirement from MMA. Cro Cop looked driven at times in the fight, but in the end, Nelson was able to take him down and pound him out for the stoppage victory. In the post fight interviews, Cro Cop confirmed to Joe Rogan what had been discussed all week - that this was his final fight. He also stated that he didn't want to go out with a loss, and apologized to fans.
Mirko Filipovic, the man known as Cro Cop, is an all time great in the Heavyweight ranks. As a fighter in Pride, Cro Cop was one of the top 3 Heavyweights alongside Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Over 5 years in Pride and other Japanese promotions, Cro Cop put together an impressive 21-4-2 record that included a win in the 2006 Pride Open Weight Grand Prix. During this run, he also scored a number of very impressive knock outs, most frequently from his feared left high kick. His knock out victims included men like Wanderlei Silva and Heath Herring among others.
Cro Cop got his start as a kickboxer in K-1, where he made the 1999 K-1 Grand Prix finals. He made the switch to MMA in 2002, and remains the most successful kickboxer to make the transition.
Unfortunately, Cro Cop never made a smooth transition into the UFC. Making his anticipated UFC debut in 2007, Cro Cop was quickly derailed by a Gabriel Gonzaga head kick knock out at UFC 70 that seemed to forever end Mriko's run to the top. His final UFC record stands at 4-6, with a 3 fight losing streak to end his career.
Though UFC fans never got to see the best of Mirko Cro Cop, hopefully all can appreciate what this legend has accomplished in the sport.
We'll have more on the retirement of Mirko Cro Cop and UFC 137 in the coming days.