|Born||September 10, 1974|
|Listed height||6 ft 2 in|
|Listed weight||227 lbs|
|Fighting out of||Zagreb, Croatia|
|Team||Cro Cop Squad Gym|
|Mixed martial arts record|
Mirko Filipović (born on September 10, 1974), often billed as Mirko Cro Cop, is a Croatian law enforcement officer turned kickboxer and mixed martial artist. He is also a former member (2003 - 2007) of Croatian Parliament. His nickname, short for "Croatian Cop", comes from his membership in the Croatian police's Anti-Terrorist Group ATJ Lučko.
Filipović has been successful in both K-1 and PRIDE Fighting Championships. On September 10, 2006, he won the PRIDE 2006 Open Weight Grand Prix, and in 2007 began fighting in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Filipović is famous for his left high kicks, with which he has knocked out many of his opponents.
Professional career Edit
Filipović started his professional career in 1996 as a kickboxer, following in the footsteps of his compatriot Branko Cikatić. Before turning pro Filipović was said to have accumulated an amateur boxing record of 40-5 (31 KO's). At the time, Filipović was working as a commando in the Croatian police anti-terrorist unit Alpha (stationed in Lučko near Zagreb), which earned him his nickname "Cro Cop". He also fought several times early in his career under the nickname "Tigar" (Croatian for "tiger").
In 1996, at the age of 21, Filipović entered the K-1 World Grand Prix elimination tournament. After defeating the previous year's finalist, Jérôme Le Banner, Filipović was stopped in the next round by Ernesto Hoost. He returned to K-1 three years later in 1999, knocking out British fighter Ricky "Tank" Nicholson, but subsequently dropped a decision against Swiss fighter, Xhavit Bajrami. Despite this, Filipović was given a wildcard into the world tournament where he shocked the kickboxing world by defeating highly regarded K-1 fighter Mike Bernardo. Filipović went on to knock out Japanese star Musashi and Australian karate fighter Sam Greco on the same night before being stopped again by Hoost.
Filipović continued to have successes in K-1, winning a number of matches against such top ranked opponents as Peter Aerts, Mark Hunt and Remy Bonjasky. He was the first fighter to beat then-undefeated giant, "The Beast" Bob Sapp in 86 seconds, breaking Sapp's orbital bone with a left punch. In 2000 he beat karate fighter Glaube Feitosa and boxer Hiromi Amada to reach the finals of the Nagoya Grand Prix, losing by first-round TKO to Mike Bernardo in a rematch. Once again, previously acquired injuries were the major factors in this loss. Filipović actually entered the ring limping on one leg due to injuries sustained in previous bouts. Bernardo repeatedly attacked Filipović's damaged leg and rendered him unable to continue due to injuries. Mirko, however, gained tremendous respect among Japanese fight enthusiasts for his courage and heart. As a finalist he progressed to the final eight for the 2000 Grand Prix, but once again dropped a decision to his nemesis Hoost.
In 2001 he was unexpectedly defeated by Canadian fighter Michael McDonald in the first round. Shortly thereafter, he began a transition to PRIDE, a Japanese mixed martial arts organization. He fought four more K-1 matches, however, winning each.
PRIDE FC Edit
In 2001, Filipović began his switch to fighting in PRIDE, citing personal challenge, as well as dissatisfaction with K-1 salaries. A year later, he also left his job at the anti-terrorist unit in order to focus fully on his martial arts career. Since then, Filipović maintained a comparably low kickboxing profile, but nevertheless scored some impressive K-1 victories, most notably against Mark Hunt in March 2002 (unanimous decision), Remy Bonjasky in July 2002 (second round TKO), and Bob Sapp in April 2003 (first round KO).
Following a TKO win over Kazuyuki Fujita in his MMA debut, "Cro Cop" then made his PRIDE debut at PRIDE 17 against Nobuhiko Takada. The bout featured a special rule stating if it went to a decision it would be ruled a draw. Neither fighter was able to stop the other.
Filipović's next PRIDE fight was against then-middleweight (205 lb) champion Wanderlei Silva. This bout featured the same rules as the Takada fight, and also ended in a draw. On August 28, 2002 "Cro Cop" faced Japanese superstar Kazushi Sakuraba at PRIDE Shockwave 2002. Filipović won after fracturing Sakuraba's orbital bone.
His next fight was a rematch with Fujita at the Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2002 event where he picked up his fourth victory, this time by decision.
"Cro Cop" returned to PRIDE to face heavyweight contender Heath Herring at PRIDE 26 (June 8, 2003). Filipović defeated Herring decisively, scoring a TKO victory only 3:17 into the fight. His next fight was against Ukrainian striker Igor Vovchanchyn at PRIDE Total Elimination 2003. Following powerful kicks in the Herring fight, this fight continued to showcase Filipović's kicking power as he knocked out Vovchanchyn with a head kick 1:29 into the fight. "Cro Cop" then defeated Mexican professional wrestler Dos Caras Jr. at PRIDE Bushido 1 with a head kick knockout in only 46 seconds.
Filipović's string of PRIDE wins secured him a chance to fight for the interim heavyweight championship against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira on November 9, 2003. Filipović's stand-up fighting proved effective in the first round, controlling the fight from his feet. However, Nogueira prevailed in the second round after a successful takedown, forcing Filipović to submit to an armbar after being mounted. Filipović admitted to Bas Rutten in a later interview that he was overconfident against Nogueira.
In 2004 Filipović put his K-1 career on hold and recruited Fabricio Werdum (a former world champion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) as his coach, working on improving his ground fighting skills. He went on to win his next two bouts by KO and TKO at a combined time of only 3:49.
"Cro Cop" then participated in PRIDE's Heavyweight Grand Prix. In a shocking upset Filipović was knocked out in the first round by Kevin Randleman. Filipović later made up for this loss by submitting Randleman in a rematch at the end of 2004.
Filipović repeatedly requested PRIDE let him challenge the heavyweight champion, Fedor Emelianenko. After winning seven straight matches since his defeat by Randleman, including a knockout victory against Aleksander Emelianenko (the 6'6", 255 lb brother of the champion) and wins over Josh Barnett, Mark Coleman, and Ibragim Magomedov, Filipović received a chance to fight Emelianenko for the title on August 28, 2005 at PRIDE Final Conflict 2005. After three rounds, Emelianenko won by unanimous decision and retained his title. Filipović later stated on Croatian national television that he came exhausted to the match, mostly because he was not used to the time difference in Japan and he had sleeping problems. He also said many times after the match that he fought too defensively and cautiously. The champion, likewise, was not in his top form. According to Emelianenko he "could not take full advantage of right hand during the striking exchanges and had to try to close the distance," due to a previous hand injury.
On October 23, 2005, less than two months after the loss to Emelianenko, Filipović stepped back into the ring to rematch open-weight King of Pancrase Josh Barnett. After three rounds Filipović received a unanimous judges' decision victory.
On December 31, 2005, Filipović lost his match against Mark Hunt via split decision. Hunt was the more aggressive fighter, an important criterion in PRIDE judging. Quite unusually, "Cro Cop" was wearing shoes for this fight, something that had no precedent. This had led to speculation and statements from his camp about Filipović having sustained injuries to his feet before the fight. Filipović himself has never confirmed these speculations. Filipović also displayed considerable problems with his cardio during his fights with Emelianenko, Barnett, and Hunt leading to the speculation that he was much too active and a resting period from the ring would work to his advantage.
Becoming a championEdit
Filipović re-entered the PRIDE ring, competing in PRIDE's 2006 Open-Weight Grand Prix on May 5, 2006. His first match at the PRIDE Total Elimination Absolute event was against Ikuhisa Minowa, the lighter but highly acclaimed professional wrestler and mixed martial artist. "Cro Cop" won the fight by TKO in 1:10 of the fight. On July 1, 2006 at PRIDE Critical Countdown Absolute, Filipović defeated 1992 Olympic judo gold medalist Hidehiko Yoshida to move on to the semi-finals.
On September 10, 2006, Filipović won the Open-Weight Grand Prix at PRIDE Final Conflict Absolute. In the semi-finals, Filipović knocked out then-PRIDE middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva with his trademark left high kick. In the final match, "Cro Cop" won a third victory over Josh Barnett, who submitted after sustaining an eye injury. With these two victories, Filipović became PRIDE's Open-Weight Grand Prix champion, the first widely recognized championship belt he has ever won. In a post-fight interview Filipović stated if he had not won the tournament, it would have been his last night fighting. It was also his birthday.
After his victory at the Open-Weight Grand Prix, a rematch between Filipović and Fedor Emelianenko failed to materialize and on December 12, 2006 Filipović pulled out of the New Year's Eve event, citing both a foot injury and Emelianenko's commitment to meet Mark Hunt at the card in question. Through his official website, Filipović revealed "I still can't kick like I want to. It's the best that we give more time to this injury to heal. I want to be in perfect shape for my next fights." Also in December 2006, rumors began to surface about Filipović entertaining offers from other mixed martial arts organizations; the Ultimate Fighting Championship was one of the promotions that Filipović confirmed came forward with an offer. Rumors continued to circulate about Filipović's future with the PRIDE FC organization and soon media websites were reporting that Filipović had chosen the UFC for his future.
UFC president Dana White and the UFC officially announced on December 30, 2006 during the post-UFC 66 press conference, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, that Filipović had signed a two-year, six-fight deal with the Las Vegas-based mixed martial arts promoter. It was also announced that Filipović would make his UFC debut on February 3, 2007 at UFC 67 in Las Vegas against Eddie Sanchez, promoting him under the name Mirko "Cro Cop" alternatively with and without quotation marks. Filipović defeated Sanchez in the first round via TKO.
On April 21, 2007, Filipović faced Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 70 in Manchester, England. At 4:51 of round one, Gonzaga won with a head kick knockout of his own. Crocop has stated since that the elbows on the ground confused and damaged him enough that he was disoriented after the stand up, contributing to the subsequent knock-out. , During the fall to the canvas, Filipović suffered a minor injury to his ankle.
Filipović's fought on September 8, 2007 at UFC 75 against French kickboxer Cheick Kongo where he lost via unanimous decision. In a post-fight interview upon his return home, Mirko stated that he cracked a rib during the fight and that the two illegal kicks in the groin he received also cost him some strength. He trained with Remy Bonjasky and Gilbert Yvel, and 2003 Abu Dhabi Combat Club champion grappler Dean Lister for this fight. Lister joined Cro Cop at his home town for 1 month to train for this up coming bout. Filipović's coach was Vos Gym's main trainer and Muay Thai practitioner Ivan "Hydro" Hippolyte. According to his home page Marijan Žižanović is the new head coach again, since October 01, 2007.
On February 12, 2008, Filipović, announced to visit Japan on his blog. With the foundation of the new MMA event, DREAM, co-established by FEG running K-1 Hero's and the former Yarennoka! organizing committee members which had managed PRIDE FC, Filipović officiates ending his career in UFC and the participation into the new event.
After much speculation and many possible rumored opponents, (including Yoshihiro Nakao and Dong Sik Yoon), Fight Entertainment Group confirmed on March 11, 2008 that Cro Cop would be facing Tatsuya Mizuno at DREAM 1 on March 15, 2008 at Satiama Arena, in Japan.
When asked about the Croatian's current contract status with the UFC and whether it would interfere with his participation in DREAM events, DREAM producer and front man Keiichi Sasahara said, "Though I can't share specific details about his contract, there will not be any foreseeable problems arising."
The 2006 Pride Grand Prix champion was vague in answering the question himself, qualifying his response by mentioning his intent to return to the American MMA giant sometime in the future.
"Well, as you all know, I had a bad period in my last two fights, which I'd lost in the UFC," Filipovic said. "I don't want anyone to think that I'm running away from the UFC, but I was thinking a lot about how to continue with my career, and I think in this moment, I think Dream is the right place for me."
"Another thing is that I never liked fighting in the cage. I always liked to fight in the ring. The second thing is that I liked fighting in Japan. Japan is like my second home -- I feel like I'm home in Japan. All those reasons [have brought me] here, and I'm very happy that I'm going to fight here in Japan. But of course, one day, I don't know when, but definitely I'll be back in the UFC to show that it was just a bad period for me. Now I'm fully recovered, physically and mentally, most important mentally."
On March 15, 2008 he defeated Tatsuya Mizuno by TKO in the 1st round at DREAM 1.
His next fight was scheduled to be against Jerome Le Banner at DREAM 5, after being rescheduled once due to Mirko sustaining a minor leg injury. However it was later announced by Mirko himself on his webpage that he would be unable to fight due to his elbow injury worsening and needing surgery. Mirko underwent successful arthorscopic elbow repair in early July, and is now on the path to full recovery.
His next fight was against Alistair Overeem at DREAM 6 on September 23, 2008. After almost half of the first round which saw Overeem taking down Filipovic multiple times and effectively striking from the top position, cutting his Croatian foe, the bout was stopped and declared a no contest due to Alistair's landing multiple unintentional knees to the groin of Filipovic. Filipovic stated after the match that he had wanted to continue to fight, as evident in his remaining in the ring. But the ringside doctor would not allow him to continue. It was announced by the commentators that Filipovic's right testicle went inside. Crocop's manager however has stated that the injury is not serious and that a rematch as soon as possible is being sought. Filipovic said that he was planning for a long fight and a KO towards the end. He expressed frustration and quoted "I'm angry it ended this way, it seemed as if he was the dominant one, however I wasn't in trouble for a second and was waiting for my opportunities. I prepared very well because i thought the match could last a while. I thought i would knock him down in the end."
As of June 2007, Filipović has compiled a professional kickboxing record within the K-1 promotion of 16 wins and 7 losses, with 11 wins and 4 losses by KO/TKO.
Mixed martial arts recordEdit
|23 Wins - 6 Losses - 2 Draws - 1 No Contest|
|NC||Alistair Overeem||No Contest (unintentional|
knee to groin of Filipović)
|Win||Tatsuya Mizuno||TKO (Punches)||DREAM 1||3/15/2008||1||0:56|
|Loss||Cheick Kongo||Decision (Unanimous)||UFC 75: Champion vs. Champion||9/8/2007||3||5:00|
|Loss||Gabriel Gonzaga||KO (Head Kick)||UFC 70: Nations Collide||4/21/2007||1||4:51|
|Win||Eddie Sanchez||TKO (Punches)||UFC 67: All or Nothing||2/3/2007||1||4:33|
|Win||Josh Barnett||Submission (Strikes}||PRIDE Final Conflict Absolute||9/10/2006||1||7:32|
|Win||Wanderlei Silva||KO (Head Kick)||PRIDE Final Conflict Absolute||9/10/2006||1||5:22|
|Win||Hidehiko Yoshida||Verbal Submission (Leg Kicks)||PRIDE Critical Countdown Absolute||7/1/2006||1||7:38|
|Win||Ikuhisa Minowa||TKO (Strikes)||PRIDE Total Elimination Absolute||5/5/2006||1||1:10|
|Loss||Mark Hunt||Decision (Split)||PRIDE Shockwave 2005||12/31/2005||3||5:00|
|Win||Josh Barnett||Decision (Unanimous)||PRIDE 30: Fully Loaded||10/23/2005||3||5:00|
|Loss||Fedor Emelianenko||Decision (Unanimous)||PRIDE Final Conflict 2005||8/28/2005||3||5:00|
|Win||Ibragim Magomedov||TKO (Body Kick)||PRIDE Critical Countdown 2005||6/26/2005||1||3:53|
|Win||Mark Coleman||KO (Punches)||PRIDE 29: Fists of Fire||2/20/2005||1||3:40|
|Win||Kevin Randleman||Submission (Guillotine Choke)||PRIDE Shockwave 2004||12/31/2004||1||0:41|
|Win||Josh Barnett||Submission (Shoulder Injury)||PRIDE 28: High Octane||10/31/2004||1||0:46|
|Win||Aleksander Emelianenko||KO (Head Kick)||PRIDE Final Conflict 2004||8/15/2004||1||2:09|
|Win||Shungo Oyama||TKO (Strikes)||PRIDE Bushido 4||7/19/2004||1||1:00|
|Win||Hiromitsu Kanehara||Decision (Unanimous)||PRIDE Bushido 3||5/23/2004||2||5:00|
|Loss||Kevin Randleman||KO (Punches)||PRIDE Total Elimination 2004||4/24/2004||1||1:57|
|Win||Yoshihisa Yamamoto||KO (Strikes)||PRIDE Bushido 2||2/15/2004||1||2:12|
|Win||Ron Waterman||TKO (Strikes)||PRIDE 27: Inferno||2/1/2004||1||4:37|
|Loss||Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira||Submission (Armbar)||PRIDE Final Conflict 2003||11/9/2003||2||1:45|
|Win||Dos Caras Jr.||KO (Head Kick)||PRIDE Bushido 1||10/5/2003||1||0:46|
|Win||Igor Vovchanchyn||KO (Head Kick)||PRIDE Total Elimination 2003||8/10/2003||1||1:29|
|Win||Heath Herring||TKO (Strikes)||PRIDE 26: Bad to the Bone||6/8/2003||1||3:17|
|Win||Kazuyuki Fujita||Decision (Unanimous)||Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2002||12/31/2002||3||5:00|
|Win||Kazushi Sakuraba||TKO (Broken Orbital Bone)||PRIDE Shockwave 2002||8/28/2002||2||5:00|
|Draw||Wanderlei Silva||Special rules||PRIDE 20: Armed and Ready||4/28/2002||5||3:00|
|Win||Yuji Nagata||TKO (Punches)||Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2001||12/31/2001||1||0:21|
|Draw||Nobuhiko Takada||Special rules||PRIDE 17: Championship Chaos||11/3/2001||5||3:00|
|Win||Kazuyuki Fujita||TKO (Cut)||K-1: Andy Hug Memorial||8/19/2001||1||0:39|
Championships and accomplishmentsEdit
- IKBF World Heavyweight Full Contact Champion
- K-1 World Grand Prix 1999 Finalist
- K-1 World Grand Prix 2000 Finalist
- PRIDE 2006 Open weight Grand Prix champion