"I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if a million voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened." - Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars: A New Hope
Those million voices belong to the legion of Pride fans that held out hope that Mirko Filipovic, the man known as "Cro Cop," had one last good run in him. For thirteen minutes, Filipovic kept those hopes alive, keeping pace with Brendan Schaub at UFC 128, if not looking like the murderous kickboxer that he had been back in Japan. That is until Schaub landed a right hand right behind Filipovic's ear, sending the Croatian into a frightening head plant toward the mat.
What was the high point of the bout?
Schaub's right hand was the high point of the fight and another addition to the low points of Mirko "Cro Cop" since winning Pride's open weight tournament in 2006.
Where do these guys go from here?/
Despite the victory, Schaub disappointed with his overall performance. Most people expected the 6'4", 240-pound Schaub to run through an aging "Cro Cop." Instead, he allowed the Croatian to hang in the bout, and, after being deducted a point in the second round for punches to the back of the head, Schaub was dangerously close to throwing away a victory should the fight have reached the scorecards. The win inches Schaub closer to the top ten, but he's in no position to compete with the guys that have that distinction.
In the postfight press conference, Dana White announced that "Cro Cop" had fought for the last time in the UFC. Whether that's his decision or Mirko's is unknown, but it doesn't sound like a decree with much flexibility. With the decaying situation in Japan, it's unlikely Filipovic would have a home to fight if that's something he was even considering. It looks like his fighting career is over, and the eulogies can be written.
Watch it now, later, or never?
Watch it now, but skip through the first thirteen minutes. Unless you enjoy watching great talents of yesterday performing at a shell of their former selves.