A legend in combat sports may finally follow through with his retirement plans. Mixed martial arts (MMA) and kickboxing icon Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic told Nova TV (via MMAWeekly.com) that he simply can’t go on after 20 years of wear and tear:
“I signed a contract for 15 fights with Rizin! I’m kidding of course. This is definitely my last major tournament, my last tournament, definitely this is the end of my career. I have health problems and I cannot continue.”
Cro Cop is leaving the door open just a tad bit as far as having a farewell fight goes. The roadblock would be the Croatian’s knee.
“The only option remains some farewell fight, but this is only if I rehabilitate my knee. I never want to go through what I went through during the preparation for this tournament. I know that I have often said I am ending my career, but this is really the end.”
Perhaps Cro Cop’s performance at Rizin 4 was all that he had left. The final Pride FC open-weight Grand Prix champion turned back the clock at the Rizin FF World Grand Prix 2016 tournament. He knocked out Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, Baruto Kaito, and Amir Aliakbari to take the open-weight Grand Prix title.
Despite hinting at retirement in the past, Cro Cop insists that this time it’ll stick.
“It will be difficult, that’s for sure. People who know me tease me because of how many times I have retired, but I promised my family that this time it is final.”
If he does indeed retire, Cro Cop will not soon be forgotten in the world of combat sports. He has won championships in Pride FC and K-1 as well as competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He has fought and defeated some of the best MMA and kickboxing fighters of all time.