Such was the extent of Mirko Filipovic’s violent exploits that grown men lost sleep at the mere thought of having to face him in his prime.
“Cro Cop” spent nearly two decades plying his trade across various stops in mixed martial arts, most prominently in the Japan-based Pride Fighting Championships organization. Though he possessed all the tools one would expect in a world-class kickboxer, Filipovic’s left high kick was the separator and arguably the most-feared weapon in MMA history. He was at the peak of his powers in 2006, when he defeated Ikuhisa Minowa, Hidehiko Yoshida, Wanderlei Silva and Josh Barnett—the latter two just hours apart on the same night—to win the Pride Openweight Grand Prix. Forced to retire after suffering a stroke in 2019, Filipovic walked away with a 38-11-2 record with one no contest.
As MMA continues to move forward without “Cro Cop” wrecking shop, here are a few of the numbers that came to define him:
45: Years of age. Filipovic was born on Sept. 10, 1974 in Vinkovci, Croatia.
30: Wins by knockout, accounting for nearly 80 percent of Filipovic’s career total (38).
4: Victories by submission. “Cro Cop” was no novice on the ground, as evidenced by the fact that he tapped Kevin Randleman with a guillotine choke at Pride Shockwave 2004, Pat Barry with a rear-naked choke at UFC 115, Shinichi Suzukawa with an armbar at Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2012 and Hyun Man Myung at Rizin Fighting Federation 2.
7: Countries in which Filipovic competed as a professional mixed martial artist. He went 33-4-2 in Japan, 2-4 in the United States, 0-2 in England, 1-0 in Australia, 1-0 in Canada, 1-0 in Poland and 0-1 in Russia.
21: Seconds needed to knock out Yuji Nagata at an Inoki Genome Federation event on Dec. 31, 2001. It occurred in Filipovic’s third pro outing and was the fastest finish of his 52-fight career.
282: Wins between the 11 men who defeated Filipovic. They were Randleman (17), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (34), Fedor Emelianenko (39), Mark Hunt (13), Gabriel Gonzaga (17), Cheick Kongo (30), Junior dos Santos (21), Frank Mir (19), Brendan Schaub (10), Roy Nelson (23) and Alexey Oleynik (59).
2: Draws on the “Cro Cop” ledger. He fought Nobuhiko Takada to a standstill at Pride 17 on Nov. 3, 2001 and did the same with the aforementioned Silva at Pride 20 on April 28, 2002. Filipovic knocked out Silva in their rematch four years later, as he felled the Brazilian icon with a patented head kick in the 2006 Pride Openweight Grand Prix semifinals.
15: First-round Filipovic finishes in Pride, most on the organization’s all-time list.
135,000: Dollars in post-fight bonus money banked as a member of the Ultimate Fighting Championship roster. “Cro Cop” pocketed $85,000 for “Submission of the Night” at UFC 115 and $50,000 for “Fight of the Night” at UFC Fight Night 64. He posted a disappointing 5-6 record in 11 appearances inside the Octagon.
9: Victories after the age of 40. Filipovic defeated Nelson, Gonzaga, Myung, Satoshi Ishii, Muhammed Lawal, Kaido Hoovelson, Amir Aliakbari, Tsuyoshi Kosaka and Roque Martinez during a late-career rebirth that caught the MMA universe by surprise.