Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic takes on Remy Bojansky in a kickboxing bout this Saturday at Glory 14 Zagreb. To hype the fight he came on Ariel Helwani's MMA Hour yesterday and gave an incredible interview covering all aspects of his legendary fight sports career.
Here's what he had to say about his run in the UFC:
"It's a black spot in my career. The UFC treated me like a king, UFC fans treated me like a king. I just failed. Why? It's hard to say. New fighters are coming. But I will always believe -- maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm right, who knows -- but I'll always believe that my bad period in the UFC started with my injuries. And I told this story so many times, sometimes I just feel stupid telling it again and sometimes some people won't understand the way I think. There is an old wise saying, a winner will always find a solution, and a loser will always find an excuse, so I don't want to sound like a loser who is finding some excuse. But the fact is, after my last fight in Pride and before my first fight in the UFC, I had my first surgery.
"Definitely, definitely, it left kind of a scar. I had my first fight (in the UFC) then, and I won it, but I felt really bad. I knew it wasn't me. It wasn't me. I fought -- I can't remember my opponent's name -- but then after that I fought (Gabriel) Gonzaga. I lost, terrible high kick. I was surprised and shocked by the cage. And at the end of the day, it was the first time (I fought with grounded elbows allowed) -- actually second, but my first opponent didn't have the time -- and Gonzaga destroyed me with elbows from the ground. So after we stood up, I didn't have double vision. I had [triple] vision. I saw three guys. He really beat me up badly, and he threw a high kick which I didn't even notice. The bad period was just in front of me. And then after that I broke my leg, I [tore] my knee, so I had four knee injuries, and then so many. I would say it's bad luck. Maybe it's not. Maybe I was happy, but because in my previous career I didn't have any kind of injuries, so maybe I can consider myself lucky at the end of the day. But the UFC days, (it was) injury after injury. And then before my last fight in the UFC with Roy Nelson, I broke my arm. Not bone, but ligament and biceps broke in half completely.
"I just saw a hole in my bicep. The same night I went to the hospital because I knew something terrible happened, and the doctor said that ‘in two days you have to do surgery,' but that was out of the question. In that case I was supposed to cancel the fight, but I had prepared six months for that fight. I was crazy and I took my chances, I risked (my health). Now I know, maybe I shouldn't do that and I should do something different, but at the end of the day, it's me. I couldn't wait another six months, maybe more.
"But I don't feel sorry. That's the name of the game. It's not shame to go down. It's shame not to stand up. That's what I was always saying. I'm a fighter, I'm a warrior, that's my job, that's my love, and I enjoy it."
Mirko also talked with Ariel about Pride, fighting Bob Sapp, the collapse of MMA in Japan, his feuds with Fedor Emelianeko and more.