Just a few days removed from winning three fights in two days, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic has announced plans to retire.
Though he plans to remain active in combat sports training young athletes, Cro Cop told Croatian television outlet Nova TV (as transcribed by FightSite.hr) that he was retiring, but this time it would be final.
Cro Cop has retired in the past, only to resurface. After winning the Rizin FF Open Weight Grand Prix, however, he said that he promised his family this time it would stick, save for the slim possibility of a farewell fight.
“I signed a contract for 15 fights with Rizin!” Cro Cop joked. “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.
“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.”
While Cro Cop intends to help the next generation of fighters follow in his footsteps, he has struggled with retirement in the past. This time, he plans to put his fighting career behind him for the final time.
“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.”
A lifelong martial artist, Cro Cop began fighting professionally in 1996 in the famed K-1 World Grand Prix in kickboxing. Competing under the K-1 banner, Cro Cop faced the likes of Jerome LeBanner, Ernesto Hoost, Mark Hunt, Ray Sefo, Remy Bonjasky, Peter Aerts, and a plethora of other legendary kickboxers. He eventually won the K-1 World Grand Prix title in 2012.
Cro Cop began competing professionally in mixed martial arts in 2001 and spent the majority of the rest of his combat sports career in MMA. He rose to prominence in Pride FC, where he won the 2006 Pride Open Weight Grand Prix by defeating Wanderlei Silva and Josh Barnett in a single night.
The Croatian went on to face a whose who of MMA, fighting numerous times in the UFC, winning an IGF championship and the Rizin FF Open Weight Grand Prix.