Before Saturday’s UFC 137 bout with Roy Nelson, former Pride Open Weight Grand Prix winner Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (Pictured) claimed the shootout would likely be his last – win, lose or draw. Unfortunately for the Croatian, “Big Country” sent him into retirement on a losing note.
“Roy is a very tough opponent and very tough to knockout. I knew this fight would be hard to finish, but that’s’ the way this sport is,” a dejected Cro Cop said following the contest.
Most stateside fans never got the opportunity to see vintage Cro Cop, as much of his highlight-reel performances took place in Pride FC’s historical ring. It’s an unfortunate fact the striker understands he will have to live with.
“The UFC has been so good to me over the years and it is hard to leave this company and this sport,” continued Cro Cop. “Even though I didn’t do as well in the UFC as the rest of my career, I feel like I did everything that I could to have an overall successful career.”
If Saturday was in fact Cro Cop’s curtain call, the 37-year-old completes his illustrious career with a 27-10-2 (1 NC) record. Although the kickboxing specialist went 4-6 under the UFC’s bright lights, including dropping his last three Octagon scraps, UFC president Dana White had nothing but good things to say about CC’s contributions to mixed martial arts.
“Cro Cop has been a good guy since the day we signed him,” White said at the post-fight press conference. “Again, a guy who’s a warrior, a legend and has done tons of great things in the sport. I know he’s very disappointed with his run in the UFC, but … at , to still be out there fighting with guys that are a lot younger and faster and more explosive than you?”
It’s always difficult to watch a legend retire in an unceremonious way, but in MMA, that appears to be the only way they’re allowed to go. That being said, we would like to think of this as Cro Cop’s official swan song: