Mirko Cro Cop and MMA are no more, yet there may be one last fight in the old dog yet (should fortune permit).
The Croatian legend confirmed to Ariel Helwani that age and injury were the reasons behind his decision to retire.
The Rizin Openweight Grand Prix champion beat all before him to earn the aforementioned crown, completing three victories in three days to take the title. It is noteworthy that his 2006 Pride Openweight Grand Prix victory came ten years prior, which held sentimental value for the heavyweight legend of MMA.
“There will always be a fire inside of me,” Cro Cop said. “But there is a time where you have to say enough.”
“There are so many champions in the combat sports — in MMA, in kickboxing, in boxing — who just didn’t know when to stop,” Cro Cop said. “There is always younger and stronger fighters that are coming and coming and coming.
“I think it’s priceless to leave the sport as a winner. With a belt. I think it’s priceless.”
Cro Cop’s decision to compete again will rely on his ability to recover from the probable knee surgery he has scheduled. Should he feel up to it following the operation, one last fight for fans may be on the cards in Japan.
“It would be nice if I will be able to recover enough that I can have a farewell fight, maybe in Japan,” he said. “It would be nice, but to tell you the truth I don’t know how the surgery will do.”
Cro Cop made his name in Japan, before his UFC debut in 2007. Despite a suspension for P.E.D violations, he is among the pantheon of greats in MMA heavyweights. Although never achieving what had looked likely in UFC, he has always remained a fan favourite.
“I’m grateful,” Cro Cop said. “Huge support I had in my career. Sometimes I ask myself, do I deserve it? I had unbelievable support.”
For a man who has seen it all, and done it all, it would be wise to listen to his words in respect of his future plans:
“I’ll be 43 in September — enough is enough, you know? Enough is enough.”