Fight Facts Retrospective: Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic

By Jay Pettry Mar 7, 2019

Fight Facts is a breakdown of all of the interesting information and Octagon oddities on every card, with some puns, references and portmanteaus to keep things fun. These deep stat dives delve into the numbers, providing historical context and telling the stories behind those numbers.

Fight Facts Retrospective is a branch of the Fight Facts series that chronicles the accomplishments and achievements of legendary fighters. Following his retirement announcement, this piece will focus on the MMA life and times of Mirko Filipovic.

A finisher of the highest order, Mirko "Cro Cop" endeared himself to fans with his destructive ring and cage presence along with his jovial demeanor outside of combat. Forced to retire due to health issues, the MMA community will always remember the Pride Fighting Championships and Ultimate Fighting Championship legend "Cro Cop" fondly for his thrilling performances over the years.

Leave No Trace: Across a 52-fight career, "Cro Cop" retired with 38 victories and sported an 89 percent finish rate, with 27 first-round stoppages.

Revengencer: When facing a former opponent in a rematch, Mirko Filipovic has defeated his opponent every time. "Cro Cop" notched his seventh win when facing an opponent a second time, and eighth in rematches total -- he beat Josh Barnett three times in Pride -- after emerging victorious over Roy Nelson at Bellator 216. Nelson previously stopped "Cro Cop" at UFC 137 in 2011.

Going Out on a High Note: Ending his career on a 10-fight win streak after beating Nelson, the streak stretching from 2014 to 2019 was the longest of his career.

Judges Stay Home: When he topped Nelson on the scorecards at Bellator 216, "Cro Cop" recorded his first decision win since beating Barnett at Pride Final Conflict 2005. In that span, "Cro Cop" finished 20 opponents.

Fightin' Round The World: "Cro Cop" is the only fighter in MMA history to ever record wins inside the UFC, Pride, Rizin Fighting Federation and Bellator MMA.

Scales Need Not Apply: Winner of the 2006 Pride Openweight Grand Prix by finishing Ikuhisa Minowa, Hidehiko Yoshida, Wanderlei Silva and Barnett, "Cro Cop" came back 10 years later to win another just like it. In 2016, he entered into the Rizin Openweight Grand Prix and stopped Hyun Man Myung, Muhammed Lawal, Kaido Hoovelson and Amir Aliakbari in just over three months to win that tournament.

The King: "Cro Cop" finished 21 different opponents across his bouts in the UFC and Pride, good for the most in combined organizational history. The next closest fighters still on the active UFC roster include Mauricio Rua (18), and Anderson Silva and Donald Cerrone (16 each) -- although the latter never appeared in Pride.

Supercop: "Cro Cop" competed for the UFC and Pride 35 times, good for the third most in their combined histories. Only Dan Henderson (36) and W. Silva (39) competed more times under their banners.

Right Leg, Hospital: Scoring 17 knockouts in combined UFC/Pride competition, "Cro Cop" ends his career tied for second with Rua for the most knockouts in those two organizations. W. Silva stands above with 18.

Left Leg, Cemetery: Across Pride history, eight fights ended with head kick knockouts. "Cro Cop" was responsible for four of those.

He's Got Legs: Recording eight stoppages in Pride via his powerful kicks, "Cro Cop" accounted for one-third of all kick-related finishes in Pride history -- the most of any fighter by far.

A Prideful Man: Competing in Pride for 24 times, the fourth most in promotional history, "Cro Cop" recorded 18 wins. He is tied for the second most wins in the company with Kazushi Sakuraba and Igor Vovchanchyn, and trails W. Silva (21).

Rize Above: Unbeaten in Rizin at 6-0 with six finishes, "Cro Cop" is one of three fighters to compete more than five times in the promotion without losing an MMA bout. Gabi Garcia and Kyoji Horiguchi are the others, although Garcia suffered a no-contest at Rizin 6 and Horiguchi dropped a kickboxing match to Tenshin Nasukawa at Rizin 13.

Show Stopper: As he stopped all six of those aforementioned Rizin bouts before the final horn, "Cro Cop" holds the second most finish and knockout victories, trailing Jiri Prochazka in both categories. However, Prochazka has competed three more times in the promotion than Filipovic.

Go for the Gut: When he knocked out 400-pound sumo "Baruto Kaito" at Rizin 4 in 49 seconds with a vicious knee to the body, he scored what at the time was the fourth fastest finish in Rizin history. Currently, it stands as the sixth fastest finish.

New Tricks: By tapping Myung at Rizin 2 with an arm-triangle choke in 140 seconds, "Cro Cop" earned what was the fastest submission in Rizin history. Since then, it has dropped to the fifth fastest submission.

You Could Say That He's a Dreamer: Competing in the Dream promotion for three bouts in 2008, he became the only fighter inside the organization to finish an opponent with leg kicks, as he chopped 7'2" Hong Man Choi down at Dynamite!! 2008.

Don't Forget: A high level kickboxer leading into his MMA career, "Cro Cop" went on to win the K-1 World Grand Prix in 2012 by beating Randy Blake, Jarrell Miller, Pavel Zhuralev and Ismael Londt to take home the gold. He beat the last three in one night.

Mirko Parliamentarian: Filipovic was elected in 2003 to serve as a member of the Croatian Parliament, also called "The Sabor," in a four-year term. He represented his electoral district of Zagreb as an independent under the Social Democratic Party. He is one of the few MMA fighters to ever hold elected positions, along with Sharice Davids in Kansas and Jeff Monson in Russia. Also of note, as of February, Paddy Holohan has decided to run for local office in Ireland.

Wild Boys! Wild Boys! Wild Boys! "Cro Cop" made his walk to the cage or ring in all but two of his career MMA bouts to "Wild Boys" by Duran Duran, for a total of 50 walkouts. This singular use of "Wild Boys" is among the most utilized walkout songs for a single recorded fighter in Zuffa history, along with Cerrone (38 uses of Kid Rock's "Cowboy"). In Pride, he once opted for Croatian rap track "Dodi u Vinkovce" by Shorty at Pride Shockwave 2005, when he faced off against Mark Hunt. In his UFC debut at UFC 67 in 2007, he emerged to the Pride FC theme by Yasuharu Takanashi.

Contributing editor Jay Pettry is an attorney and a statistician. Writing about MMA since he started studying the "Eminem Curse" in 2012, and writing for Vice Sports and Combat Docket along the way, he put together many fight result and entrance music databases to better study the sport. You can find him on twitter at @jaypettry.
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