Few fighters in mixed martial arts history have inspired fear and trepidation quite like Mirko Filipovic.
The 2006 Pride Fighting Championships open weight grand prix and 2016 Rizin Fighting Federation open weight grand prix winner will be remembered as one of the best heavyweights of all-time, in the same breath with Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fabricio Werdum. “Cro Cop” debuted on Aug. 19, 2001 and went on to become one of the cornerstones of the Japan-based Pride promotion, compiling a stellar resume that includes victories over Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba, Olympic gold medalists Hidehiko Yoshida and Satoshi Ishii (twice), Brazilian buzzsaw Wanderlei Silva, onetime Strikeforce champion Muhammed Lawal and three former Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholders: Kevin Randleman, Mark Coleman and Josh Barnett (three times). He was also a member of the Lucko Anti-Terrorist Unit, a Special Forces branch of the Croatian police: Hence the nickname “Cro Cop.”
Over the course of his outstanding 16-year career, Filipovic has accumulated his share of compelling statistical data:
1: K-1 World Grand Prix title. Filipovic won the prestigious kickboxing tournament in 2012, when he defeated Ismael Londt in the final in Zagreb, Croatia.
6: Knockouts via head kick. Ishii, Silva, Igor Vovchanchyn, Aleksander Emelianenko, Jose Alberto Rodriguez and Yuji Nagata all felt his shin-to-skull wrath.
7: Consecutive wins. Filipovic currently finds himself on a seven-fight winning streak, equaling the longest such streak of his career. Those victories have come at the expense of Ishii (twice), Lawal, Gabriel Gonzaga, Hyun Man Myung, Kaido Hoovelson and Amir Aliakbari.
8: Countries in which he has competed as a mixed martial artist. They are Japan, the United States, England, Germany, Australia, Canada, Russia and Poland.
11: Appearances in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Filipovic owns a disappointing 5-6 record inside the Octagon, with wins over Gonzaga, Eddie Sanchez, Mostapha Al-Turk, Anthony Perosh and Pat Barry offset by losses to Gonzaga, Cheick Kongo, Junior dos Santos, Frank Mir, Brendan Schaub and Roy Nelson.
18: Victories in Pride, tying him with Sakuraba and Vovchanchyn for second on the organization’s all-time list. Only Silva (22) had more.
24: Opponents stopped inside one round. That includes 21-, 39-, 41-, 46-, 46-, 49-, 56- and 60-second finishes.
27: Wins by knockout. They account for 77 percent of his career total.
43: Years of age. “Cro Cop” was born on Sept. 10, 1974 in Vinkovci, Croatia.
265: Cumulative victories between the 11 men who have beaten Filipovic. Having avenged two of his losses, he has never lost twice to the same fighter.