Iole: "Filipovic Finally Finds Passion"

 I won't believe it until I see it. Not going through another emotional roller-coaster.

LAS VEGAS – If there is one thing that has been lacking from Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic since he joined the UFC in 2007, it has been visible passion.

He remains one of the sport’s most popular fighters despite a decidedly average record in the last four years. Filipovic has lost two in a row heading into his heavyweight bout Saturday against Roy Nelson on the main card of UFC 137 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, and likely needs a win to keep his job.

Filipovic has always had a stoic demeanor, but there has been the perception among many since he joined the UFC after leaving the now-defunct Pride Fighting Championship that he was doing little more than going through the motions.

Mirko Filipovic is determined that his fight against Roy Nelson on Saturday in UFC 137 will not be his last.

(Getty Images)

However, nobody can accuse him of that heading into his bout with Nelson.

A reporter prefaced a question about whether he’d be able to regain his past success by noting “you’re not an old man.” Filipovic, though, misheard the question, and he reacted quickly.

“Are you saying I’m an old man?” he asked, his voice flaring angrily.

He’s only 37, old for a fighter, perhaps, but definitely not an old man. And Filipovic, who is only 6-5 with one no contest since leaving Pride, doesn’t feel like he’s an old man.

He’s likely to get cut if he loses to Nelson, and he knows it. But he is adamant that when he leaves the UFC, it’s going to be on his own terms.

“Right now, I feel this isn’t my last fight,” he said. “Definitely not. I am going to beat Roy Nelson. I don’t feel this is the end. Not at all. I am still Cro Cop. I am fighting for victory. I am fighting to show the people who buried me alive after I lost two fights in a row that I can ‘raise from the grave.’

“I won’t lose three fights in a row. I am still me, I am still Cro Cop. I know I must win this fight to still be in the UFC. I have to win. I don’t underestimate Nelson. He hits hard with wild hooks and has a chin of iron, but I know I will beat him. If I lose, I will apologize for wasting everyone’s time.”

Filipovic has been fighting in one form or another since he was a teenager in Croatia. His powerful leg kicks helped him become one of the most successful and feared heavyweights on the planet and led to the classic line, “Right leg, hospital. Left leg, cemetery.”

It’s been a long time since he’s had a signature knockout, though. He submitted Pat Barry at UFC 115 in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2010, and won on a doctor’s stoppage over late replacement Anthony Perosh at UFC 110 in Sydney, Australia. But he hasn’t knocked out an opponent with punches since 2009 – a span of six fights.

Filipovic, though, is fighting with a sense of urgency because he realizes that not only is this perhaps his final shot in the UFC, but he may be looking at the end of his career, period.

And for a guy who has scaled the heights that Filipovic has, that’s unacceptable. He wants to leave on his own terms and is terrified of being shown the door.

“[Next] June will be 20 years since the first time I have trained for a fight,” he said. “That was for a Croatian boxing tournament. But even before then, I would be boxing, kicking, from the age of 10 in a gym or in my garage. I love this. The best feeling in the world is a hard workout, a shower and a protein shake. This is my life and I don’t want to give this up. This is my life. Martial arts gave me everything in life. It is not about a paycheck, it is about how I live my life. I don’t fight for free. I am not an idiot, but it is about fighting for victory.

“People say people who spend too many years in prison don’t know how to act when they get free. I don’t know how I am going to act, how I am going to kill time, once I am not a fighter,” he continued. “Retirement scares me, and I have to think about how I am going to handle it. But right now my body is fit and healthy. My body allows me to train hard all week. If I was old I couldn’t do that. Some people are old at 30, some 33. [UFC Hall of Famer] Randy Couture wasn’t old until he was nearly 50. Right now, I am not old. When I am, I will retire.”

Not only does he insist he’s not an old fighter, he resents insinuations that he’s too one-dimensional to succeed in the current environment, where the best fighters are competent, or more, in all disciplines. He’s clearly a hard puncher and a kicker, but he’s been besieged with questions about how he’d handle elite wrestlers or top-level jiu-jitsu fighters.

Though he lost to former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir at UFC 119 in a dreadful affair, he wasn’t submitted and never was close to it. Mir has arguably the best jiu-jitsu among heavyweights in MMA, but it took a punch to knock out Filipovic.

Filipovic said he’s not simply a kick boxer, though that’s how he’ll be introduced Saturday in the Octagon by ring announcer Bruce Buffer. He said he is a multi-dimensional fighter and insisted he will have no concern grappling with Nelson, a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, if the fight winds up on the ground.

“I think it’s stupid to say a guy who has trained in jiu-jitsu for as long as I have is just a stand-up fighter,” Filipovic said. “I have trained with some of the best black belts in the world. I am comfortable on the ground. I can fight wherever the fight goes and not be concerned. Who has submitted me?

“I’m ready to prove that I am a complete fighter and that I have a lot of good fights left. Of course I’m fighting for my job, and I know this, so I am prepared to win no matter where the fight goes.”




 skip to 2 min mark where iole talks crocop

 He's going to do it.  I am convinced of this.

nelson knocks him out in a minute. his chin is non existent.

ttt for the best UGer... J-Tee! Phone Post


Kostakio -  ttt for the best UGer... J-Tee! Phone Post

 far from it, but thanks my fren !

It's his last fight on his contract... that's where his "passion" is coming from.


Lol @ Cross Cop typo!! Phone Post

Mir ko was a knee i believe. Thorough research on display in this article. Phone Post

Mirko needs to keep Nelson at bay with reach and kicks. Take out his legs or get taken out on a stretcher. Phone Post

 i thought he was gonna say cro found his passion in singing while driving

If Roy loses I hope he doesn't get cut, they need to set up a match between him and Beltran before they do that.

Cro Cop is listed as one of my pallbearers when I die an early death, so he can let me down one last time.

I kid, and I hope he wins. Phone Post

I pray mirko wins Phone Post

This is just Kevin Iole helping the UFC hype the match. We've heard the same lines coming from Crocop for a long time now and it's been stinkfest after stinkfest unless he was fighting a tomato can.

Fans from before way before TUF might remember discussions about how Kanehara revealed the strategy to nullify Crocop's offence. Now that Crocop has only a fraction of his former striking skills (according to his trainers when they brought in Bonjasky to help) and a worsening glass jaw, it's tough to watch him fight. It's like watching Wand fights...just waiting for the inevitable brutal KO.

and it was one hell of a booger

if he would just throw his damn left punch instead of pushing away when they got close to him i think hed knock alot of dudes out.

if you watch his last couple fights vs his fights before gonzaga its a world of difference. i dunno why but he like does not throw his hands anymore, and he certainly doesnt whip that left leg up nearly as much as he used to.

i think 1 good body kick or a bunch of good leg kicks and he could beat nelson before nelson even touched him, but he wont.

He says this before every fight.