This Week’s MMA Birthdays: Mirko Filipovic Turns 39

By Brian Knapp Sep 8, 2013
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic was as feared as any fighter in his prime. | Photo: Daniel Herbertson/

He was once the standard by which all heavyweight strikers were measured in mixed martial arts. On Sept. 10, Mirko Filipovic will celebrate his 39th birthday.

“Cro Cop” -- a nickname that was derived from the time Filipovic spent in a Special Forces unit in his native Croatia -- reached his MMA peak in 2006, when he defeated Ikuhisa Minowa, Hidehiko Yoshida, Wanderlei Silva and Josh Barnett in one remarkable four-month tear to win the Pride Fighting Championships open weight grand prix. His wins over Silva and Barnett, which occurred on the same day, were his last under the Pride banner, as Filipovic later signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The Croatian striker failed to meet expectations inside the Octagon, where he compiled a mediocre 4-6 record in 10 appearances.

Filipovic announced his retirement from MMA following a knockout loss to Roy Nelson at UFC 137 in October 2011. However, he returned to the sport a little more than a year later, submitting Shinichi Suzukawa with a first-round armbar at an Inoki Genome Federation show in Japan. Rumors of a rematch with Aleksander Emelianenko and a New Year’s Eve matchup with 2008 Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii have since been floated but not finalized. Filipovic -- who also dabbled in politics, serving a four-year term in the Croatian Parliament -- was a two-time K-1 World Grand Prix finalist, winning the prestigious kickboxing event in 2012.

Those in MMA celebrating a birthday the week covering Sept. 8-Sept. 14:


Rubens Xavier (39)
Mike Thomas Brown (38)
Chris Tuchscherer (38)
Yasuhiro Urushitani (37)


Don Richards (39)
Harris Sarmiento (30)
Jose Aldo (27)
Bobby Green (27)
Kyung Ho Kang (26)

SEPT. 10

Sanae Kikuta (42)
Mirko Filipovic (39)
Joe Doerksen (36)
Naoya Uematsu (35)

SEPT. 12

Yuki Sasaki (37)
James Irvin (35)
Ray Steinbeiss (34)
Stanislav Nedkov (32)
Mario Rinaldi (31)
Johny Hendricks (30)
Junior dos Santos (29)
Paul Kelly (29)
Dustin Neace (27)

SEPT. 13

Ronald LeBreton Jr. (28)

SEPT. 14

Antonio Silva (34)
Chris Lozano (31)
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