Legendary heavyweight Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic announced that he is officially stepping away from being a professional fighter. Filipovic suffered a shoulder injury in preparation for his upcoming Fight Night bout that lead to his decision to retire. The Croatian kick boxer took to his official website to further clarify his feelings and thought process that went into his final decision.
“I am aware that I have come to the end of my martial times, but training with pain I want no longer,” he wrote. “My body is battered by countless trainings, I collected nine surgeries, the body has become prone to injury, after each workout I put ice on my knee operated on because it’s filled with fluid, therapies twice a week. The next fight would be 80th professional and that is a lot, especially in the competition: K-1, Pride, IGF, UFC.”
Filipovic walks away with a 31-11-2 MMA record and a professional kickboxing record of 23-8. He is most known for his legendary bouts in Japan’s PRIDE organization. He was known for his vicious kickboxing skills that made his one of the to heavyweights in the world. His kicks became so well-known and fears that a catchphrase of “right leg hospital, left leg cemetery” only lead to his popularity in the combat sports community.
Filipovic was scheduled to face Anthony Hamilton at the UFC Fight Night card in Seoul, South Korea on November 28. After leaving the UFC in 2011, he returned early this year with a TKO win over Gabriel Gonzaga. The win pushed his UFC record to 5-6.
“Cro Cop” debuted for the UFC in 2007 after PRIDE went out of business. He never reached the career height in the UFC as he did in PRIDE and was a shell of his former self while competing for the UFC. But regardless of he did and did not accomplish in the UFC, MMA fans still recognize Filipovic as one of the sport’s most legendary figures.
“This is not a temporary decision because I was unhappy due to all of that, but it’s my final decision and it’s best for me. Sooner or later the time comes when a man has to think on the health. I had a really long and great career and I believe I left a deep mark in the martial arts, in a free fight and in K-1 and I have no regrets. Thanks to everyone who followed me and supported me, but for me there remains beautiful memories.”