Once known as a dreaded heavyweight striker, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic has since lost that reputation, thanks to a less than interesting six fight run in the UFC. And although he was fairly successful in his brief move over to Japan competing in DREAM and Dynamite!, he is more recognized for his uninspiring wins over Mostapha Al-Turk and Anthony Perosh, as well as his losses to Cheick Kongo, Junior Dos Santos and Gabriel Gonzaga. If these fights are any evidence, most would say Cro Cop’s golden days of fighting are long gone.
There has been many speculations as to why Cro Cop is no longer the fear-instilling knock-out machine he once was. But the fighter finally came out in a recent interview with Fighters Only magazine to give his reasoning on his downfall.
“I had a very bad injury two years ago,” Cro Cop said. “The knee was completely broken. I had three surgeries for the knee and of course it reflected on my kicking. I was afraid to kick, it was still very fresh. But I decided to take the risk for the [UFC 99] Cologne fight one year ago.
If you noticed I didn’t even try to do a kick with my German opponent [Al-Turk], and I didn’t try – or I tried only once to kick Junior dos Santos because I didn’t feel very stable in kicking. I didn’t feel like my leg was good so I just didn’t kick it. So of course it frustrated me a lot but it was my decision to enter the cage. It was my decision to accept the fight. Nobody forced me to do that. But thank god it’s behind me now and my legs are okay now.”
Mirko never was completely clear on what the injury exactly was, but he did state that it was bad enough for his physician to warn him not to compete until at least six months after his surgery.
“The wound was still fresh,” he said. “It was only less than six months after the surgery so it was ‘suicide’ according to the doctor. But I decided to take the fight and I decided to take another fight with Dos Santos, which wasn’t a smart idea in that condition. But I’m just a fighter, you know, and I like the sport. I like fighting. I like competition but obviously you need to make decisions with the head, not with the heart.”
But the fighter stated that his knee is back in shape, and he is back to making some crazy powerful kicks, that SHOULD perk up the ears of the fighters in the heavyweight decision.
“But the leg is finally completely recovered,” said Filipovic. “It was a very hard injury, you know, so it really took time. Now it is one and a half years since I had the operation and now it’s finally okay. Now it’s finally okay. And finally a few months ago I started with the full power kicking.”
Cro Cop will get to make his hopefully successful comeback at UFC 115: Liddell vs. Franklin, this coming Saturday, June 12th, where he will be taking on fellow striker Pat Berry.