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Mirko Filipovic

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Mirko 'Cro Cop' Filipovic with his hand over his heart as the Croatian national anthem plays before one of his fights.

Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic is a retired Croatian kickboxer and mixed martial artist known for his deadly left-high kicks with which he violently knocked out many of his opponents in Pride FC. Coming to the UFC, his record of wins and losses had been inconsistent at best.

Mirko most recently faced off against former kickboxer Pat Barry, defeating Barry via rear-naked choke which earned him Submission of the Night honors.

He next replaced Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira on a month's notice to fight former two-time UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir. Mir talked trash before the fight as usual. Mirko's reply was simple: "I am aware that he is a better fighter than Mustapha Al-Turk and Anthony Perosh definitely, but he should pray to God not to be knocked out."

After three boring rounds, Mir knocked Filipovic out with a knee. No one cared. It was that fucking boring. Filipovic was in good spirits despite the depressing loss. That was the only positive thing. He made plans to take the rest of 2010 off and rest and relax. He stated that he would return in 2011 for two more fights before he will contemplate retirement once more.

Mirko expressed interest in replacing an injured Shane Carwin against Roy Nelson. Instead, he next faced up-and-comer Brendan Schaub. Schaub defeated Filipovic via third-round knockout even after Filipovic broke his nose with elbows in the clinch. After the second straight knockout loss, Filipovic was cut from the UFC. He expressed surprise and shock that he had lost in that manner. He stated that he was once again contemplating retirement.

After a short hiatus, Filipovic signed to face Ultimate Fighter winner Roy Nelson at the end of October 2011. Nelson defeated Cro Cop via third-round TKO. After the bout, Filipovic gave an emotional speech before retiring from the sport of mixed martial arts. He was assured by commentator Joe Rogan and fans that he had nothing to apologize for.

Cro Cop was quoted as saying after the loss to "Big Country" Nelson, "I don't know how Nelson survived that swarm of punches. This was my last fight..."

Filipovic obviously meant that it was his last mixed martial arts fight, as in late January 2012 he announced that he would be competing in his "last" kickboxing bout against fellow K1 legend and rookie MMA fighter Ray Sefo. Filipovic defeated Sefo via an exciting unanimous decision.

In April 2012, conflicting rumors arose about Filipovic signing with the K1 kickboxing organization of his youth and also about Filipovic coming out of MMA retirement to sign with the Korean ONE FC promotion.

Filipovic returned to MMA at the end of 2012 defeating Shinichi Suzukawa via first round armbar submission and he next signed to face UFC veteran Pedro Rizzo in February 2013.

The fight never materialized and Filipovic took most of the rest of 2013 off before signing for a rematch of his Pride fight with Aleksander Emelianenko. Emelianenko was arrested in October 2013 for a vicious assault and replaced by Alexey Oleinik. Oleinik defeated Filipovic via scarf-hold submission near the end of the first round.

Filipovic next fought Satoshi Ishii for the IGF heavyweight title defeating Ishii by second round doctor stoppage.

The two rematched for the title with Filipovic defeating Ishii via second round knockout with a vintage head kick and punches.

Return to the UFCEdit

A deal with Filipovic to sign for the UFC's rival promotion Bellator was "ninety-nine" percent done when the UFC swooped in and made a more lucrative offer to keep Filipovic from adding to Bellator. Thus Filipovic returned to the UFC heavyweight division in January 2015 over three years after retiring after the Nelson loss.

Filipovic stated that he was aware he wouldn't be going on a title run and just wanted to avenge his UFC losses to Gabriel Gonzaga, Cheick Kongo (who was in Bellator unfortunately), former champion Junior Dos Santos, former champion Frank Mir, Brendan Schaub and Roy Nelson.

Filipovic proved this by quickly signing to make his return in the main event of the UFC's first event in Poland in a rematch against Gabriel Gonzaga, eight years after Gonzaga had knocked him out with his own iconic high kick. Filipovic picked up a truly inspirational third round technical knockout victory after rocking Gonzaga on the feet and then opening up a huge cut on Gonzaga's face with elbows on the ground for the TKO stoppage.

Filipovic then stated he wanted to go on a 'revenge tour' to avenge his UFC losses against Roy Nelson and Junior Dos Santos in particular.

Filipovic instead next signed to fight complete unknown Anthony Hamilton in the UFC's first show in South Korea. The fight was set for several months until Filipovic pulled out with a shoulder injury in November 2015, subsequently retiring again from mixed martial arts. A day or two later the angry UFC revealed that Filipovic had actually failed a USADA anti-doping test and had been subsequently suspended in any case.

RIZINEdit

About a year after the doping debacle, Filipovic was confirmed to be returning to the sport against his old foe Wanderlei Silva. The two would face off as part of a 16-man open weight tournament in the spiritual successor to Pride, called Rizin.

Instead Filipovic next made his Rizin debut against Hyun Man Myung in the tournament's opening round, defeating Myung via an odd first round arm triangle choke submission.

Filipovic was then set to fight Silva in the quarterfinals of the tournament but Silva was injured shortly before the fight was set to take place and replaced by previous tournament winner, former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion and Bellator veteran Muhammed Lawal. After a competitive fight Filipovic finished Lawal in the second round via TKO and advanced to the tournament's semifinals, which would take place forty-eight hours later. The finals would take place later that same night.

In the semifinals Filipovic would face the undefeated Estonian sumo wrestler Baruto Kaito. He quickly handed Baruto his first loss with a first round technical knockout before then handing another undefeated young fighter his first loss knocking out Amir Aliakbari. With the victory Filipovic won the Rizin openweight grand prix at the age of forty-two. He then retired from mixed martial arts, "for the last time."

FightsEdit

Quotes Edit

"Right leg, hospital. Left leg, cemetery."

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