by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
It was a dream match for Pat Barry to face his idol Mirko CroCop, but now he can count one of his career losses to his childhood hero as the former Pride Grand Prix champion battled back from a tough first round to submit his opponent late in the third round of their match-up at UFC 115.
If anyone questioned where Mirko CroCop was after some lackluster performances in the Octagon, the former Croatian Special Forces officer proved that he still has the fire that once saw him ranked as one of the top two heavyweights in the sport.
Hero worship and respect caught up to Barry in the first round as he dropped CroCop twice, but failed to follow up and try to do any further damage. CroCop’s face started to swell up as well, and it looked like he was in for a long night.
“Well he caught me twice, the first one wasn’t so hard, I fall down on my ass, but I felt nothing almost, but the second one was good,” CroCop said about the knockdowns in the first round. “I had double vision for a few seconds, but I managed to survive.”
The damage in the first round woke up the beast inside Mirko CroCop as he came out firing at his younger opponent, blasting away with punches, kicks and even mixed up a ground game, which just about no one, especially Pat Barry, expected.
As his confidence grew, CroCop took over in the third round as Barry looked like he was losing steam, and it was the beginning of the end. Known as possibly the deadliest stand-up fighter in MMA history, CroCop cracked Barry with a combination of punches, and dropped him with one good shot.
If the old CroCop let his opponents up from a knockdown, the new CroCop learned from Barry’s mistake in the first, and he swooped in looking for the finish. Snatching a rear naked choke while Barry was turtled up on the ground, and it was the moments from being over.
“He made the space for me to choke him, so I choked him,” CroCop said about his submission.
With a contract negotiation ahead as this was the last fight on his current contract, Mirko CroCop looks to be back to his prime form, and ready to battle the best in the heavyweight division. He also found a smile and a sense of humor as he make the call to UFC president Dana White for a little something extra for the fight with Barry.
“I hope Mr. Dana White won’t be stingy and he will give at least bonus for submission of the night, if not for the fight of the night as well,” CroCop said with a smile.