Mirko Filipović

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Mirko Filipović
Born Mirko Filipović
(1974-09-10) September 10, 1974 (age 40)
Vinkovci, Croatia
Other names Cro Cop
Nationality Croatian
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight 232 lb (105 kg; 16.6 st)
Division Heavyweight
Reach 73.0 in (185 cm)
Fighting out of Zagreb, Croatia
Team Cro Cop Squad Gym[1]
Tigar Gym
Vos Gym
Trainer Ivan Hippolyte, Stipe Drviš, Mario Mlinarić
Rank Black belt in Tae Kwon Do
Years active 1996–2003, 2012–2014 (Kickboxing)
2001–present (MMA)
Kickboxing record
Total 31
Wins 23
By knockout 12
Losses 8
By knockout 4
Mixed martial arts record
Total 45
Wins 31
By knockout 23
By submission 5
By decision 3
Losses 11
By knockout 5
By submission 3
By decision 3
Draws 2
No contests 1
Amateur boxing record
Total 45
Wins 40
By knockout 31
Losses 5
Other information
Occupation Law enforcement officer, politician
Spouse Klaudija
Website http://www.mirkofilipovic.com/
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
last updated on: June 21, 2014

Mirko Filipović (Croatian pronunciation: [mîrko fǐːlipɔːʋitɕ]; born September 10, 1974) is a Croatian heavyweight mixed martial artist, retired kickboxer, boxer, politician, and law enforcement officer. As of April 13, 2015, he is #15 in official UFC Heavyweight rankings.

Filipović is the former 2006 Pride World Grand Prix Open-Weight Champion and the former K-1 World Grand Prix Champion becoming the second fighter in the world to win both an MMA championship and K-1 World Grand Prix Championship, and he is also a former IGF Heavyweight Champion. His nickname, Cro Cop, short for "Croatian Cop", comes from his membership in the Lučko Anti-Terrorist Unit, Croatia's elite Police Special Forces tactical unit. Filipović owed his mixed martial arts success to a combination of elite-level kickboxing and near-impregnable takedown defense, making him one of the most dangerous strikers in history and a prototype for the modern sprawl and brawler. Filipović's signature move was his lightning quick left head-kick, once famously described as "right leg, hospital; left leg, cemetery."[2] Filipović was also a successful amateur boxer. Mirko medalled numerous times in international competition, and was also a member of Croatia's world team when he competed at the 1997 Amateur Boxing World Championships. In his prime he was considered one of the best mixed martial artists, along with Fedor Emelianenko and Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira.


Filipović was born on September 10, 1974 in the remote village of Privlaka, Vukovar-Syrmia County, which was then in the Socialist Republic of Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and is now in the Republic of Croatia. He was raised in a working-class family with his older sister by three years. Filipović's early martial arts inspirations were Bruce Lee and Jean-Claude Van Damme, and he began training in his parents' garage as a child with his fathers boxing equipment and weights. As there were no sporting goods shops in the village, Filipović's father, who worked as an electrician for a railway company, fashioned his son a crude but efficient punching bag filled with sand and cotton, and would bring home track scraps for Mirko to use as for weight training. With no one to teach him proper punching combinations and techniques, he would mostly resort to kicking the bag and he credits this early training, along with daily stretching routines, to the kicking prowess he would display later in his career. Filipovic began training officially in Tae Kwon Do at the age of 7 and later started also Karate.

Filipović's father passed away in 1994 when Filipovic was 19 years old and that same year, he joined the Croatian Army. The Croatian War of Independence was entering its final year, and he was sent to train in Zagreb where he joined a boxing club. After joining the Croatian police force in 1996 following a year in the army, he embarked on a career in professional kickboxing in March that year and defeated Jérôme Le Banner in his debut. After losing to Ernesto Hoost in his next kickboxing match, he turned his attention back to amateur boxing and his law enforcement career. He had success in both areas as a three-time national amateur boxing champion and later joined the Lučko Anti-Terrorist Unit where he served for four years until he was offered an invitation to join the Croatian Parliament.[3]

Professional career[edit]

A martial arts enthusiast since his youth, Filipović started his professional career in 1996 as a kickboxer, following in the footsteps of his compatriot Branko Cikatić. Before turning pro Filipović had accumulated an amateur boxing record of 40–5 (31 KO's).[4] At the time, Filipović was working as a commando in the Croatian police anti-terrorist unit Alpha (stationed in Lučko near Zagreb), which earned him his nickname "Cro Cop". He also fought several times early in his career under the nickname "Tigar" (Croatian for "tiger").[5] His entrance theme song is The Wild Boys by Duran Duran.


In 1996, at the age of 22, Filipović entered the K-1 World Grand Prix elimination tournament. After defeating the previous year's finalist, Jérôme Le Banner, Filipović was stopped in the next round by Ernesto Hoost. He returned to K-1 three years later in 1999, knocking out British fighter Ricky "Tank" Nicholson, but subsequently dropped a decision against Swiss fighter, Xhavit Bajrami. Despite this, Filipović was given a wildcard into the world tournament where he shocked the kickboxing world by defeating highly regarded K-1 fighter Mike Bernardo. Filipović went on to knock out Japanese star Musashi and Australian karate fighter Sam Greco on the same night before being stopped again by Hoost. It was later revealed that Filipović actually entered the ring with a broken rib, a result of his previous fights. Filipovic also beat Mr. K1 Peter Aerts.

Filipović continued to have successes in K-1, winning a number of matches against such top ranked opponents as Peter Aerts, Mark Hunt and Remy Bonjasky. He was the first fighter to beat then-undefeated giant, "The Beast" Bob Sapp in 86 seconds, breaking Sapp's zygomatic bone with a left punch. In 2000 he beat karate fighter Glaube Feitosa and boxer Hiromi Amada to reach the finals of the Nagoya Grand Prix, losing by first-round TKO to Mike Bernardo in a rematch. Once again, previously acquired injuries were the major factors in this loss. Filipović actually entered the ring limping on one leg due to injuries sustained in previous bouts. Bernardo repeatedly attacked Filipović's damaged leg and rendered him unable to continue due to injuries. Filipović, however, gained tremendous respect among Japanese fight enthusiasts for his courage and heart. As a finalist he progressed to the final eight for the 2000 Grand Prix, but once again dropped a decision to his nemesis Hoost.

In 2001 he was unexpectedly defeated by Canadian fighter Michael McDonald in the first round. Shortly thereafter, he began a transition to Pride, a Japanese mixed martial arts organization. He fought four more K-1 matches, however, winning each, most notably against Mark Hunt, Remy Bonjasky and Bob Sapp.

Pride FC[edit]

In 2001, Filipović began his switch to fighting in Pride, citing personal challenge as well as dissatisfaction with K-1 salaries. A year later, he also left his job at the anti-terrorist unit in order to focus fully on his martial arts career.[6] Since then, Filipović maintained a comparably low kickboxing profile, but nevertheless scored some impressive K-1 victories, most notably against Mark Hunt in March 2002 (unanimous decision), Remy Bonjasky in July 2002 (second round TKO) and Bob Sapp in April 2003 (first round KO).

Following a TKO win over Kazuyuki Fujita in his MMA debut, Filipović made his Pride debut at Pride 17 against Nobuhiko Takada. The bout featured a special rule stating if it went to a decision it would be ruled a draw. Neither fighter was able to stop the other but had the fight been scored, Filipović would've won the decision.

Filipović's next Pride fight was against then-middleweight (205 lb) champion Wanderlei Silva. This bout featured the same rules as the Takada fight and also ended in a draw (although if the fight had been scored again, Wanderlei Silva would've won the decision). On August 28, 2002 Filipović faced Japanese superstar Kazushi Sakuraba at Pride Shockwave. Filipović won after fracturing Sakuraba's orbital bone.

His next fight was a rematch with Fujita at the Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2002 event where he picked up his fourth victory, this time by decision.

Filipović returned to Pride to face heavyweight contender Heath Herring at Pride 26 (June 8, 2003). Filipović defeated Herring decisively, scoring a TKO victory with a left roundhouse body kick to Herring's liver at 3:17 into the fight. His next fight was against Ukrainian striker Igor Vovchanchyn at Pride Total Elimination 2003. Following the powerful kicks of the Herring fight, this fight continued to showcase Filipović's kicking power as he knocked out Vovchanchyn with a head kick 1:29 into the fight. Filipović then defeated Mexican professional wrestler Dos Caras, Jr. at Pride Bushido 1, also with a head kick knockout, in 46 seconds.

Filipović's string of Pride wins secured him a chance to fight for the Interim Pride Heavyweight Championship against Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira on November 9, 2003. Filipović's stand-up fighting proved effective in the first round, allowing him to control the fight from his feet while defending every takedown attempt Nogueira made, and landing a head-kick at the end of the round. Nogueira, however, prevailed in the second round after finally getting a successful takedown, forcing Filipović to submit to an armbar after being mounted. Filipović admitted to Bas Rutten in a later interview that he was overconfident against Nogueira.

In 2004 Filipović put his K-1 career on hold and recruited Fabrício Werdum (a former world champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu) as his coach, working on improving his ground fighting skills. He went on to win his next two bouts by KO and TKO at a combined time of only 3:49, against Yoshihisa Yamamoto and 280 lb. Ron Waterman.

Filipović then participated in Pride Total Elimination 2004. In an upset, Filipović was knocked out in the first round by Kevin Randleman. Filipović later submitted Randleman in a rematch at the end of 2004.

Filipović repeatedly requested Pride to let him challenge the heavyweight champion, Fedor Emelianenko. After winning seven straight matches since his loss to Randleman, including a head-kick knockout victory against Alexander Emelianenko (brother of the champion) and wins over Josh Barnett, Mark Coleman and Ibragim Magomedov, Filipović received a chance to fight Fedor Emelianenko for the Pride Heavyweight Championship.

The match between Emelianenko and Mirko Filipović finally took place at PRIDE Final Conflict 2005.[7][8] In the first round, Filipović stunned and broke Emelianenko's nose with two stiff jabs. He discolored Fedor's midsection with powerful body kicks. Emelianenko was then able to get the fight to the ground and land several body shots, which took a lot of gas out of Filipović. As the fight progressed, Emelianenko became more and more dominant, winning most of the stand up exchanges and scoring several takedowns. After 20 minutes, Emelianenko was awarded a unanimous decision victory.[9][10][11]

On October 23, 2005, less than two months after the loss to Emelianenko, Filipović stepped back into the ring to rematch open-weight King of Pancrase Josh Barnett. After three rounds Filipović received a unanimous judges' decision victory.

On December 31, 2005, Filipović lost his match against Mark Hunt via split decision. Hunt was the more aggressive fighter, an important criterion in Pride judging. Unusually, Filipović wore shoes for this fight, something that had no precedent. This had led to speculation and statements from his camp about Filipović having sustained injuries to his feet before the fight.[citation needed] Filipović himself has never confirmed these speculations. Filipović also displayed considerable problems with his cardio during his fights with Emelianenko, Barnett and Hunt leading to the speculation that he was much too active and a resting period from the ring would work to his advantage.[citation needed]

2006 Pride World Grand Prix Open-Weight Champion[edit]

Filipović re-entered the Pride ring, competing in Pride 2006 Open-Weight Grand Prix on May 5, 2006. It was during this tournament that he came up with the quote, "Right leg, hospital; left leg, cemetery". His first match at the Pride Total Elimination Absolute event was against Ikuhisa Minowa, the lighter but highly acclaimed professional wrestler and mixed martial artist. Filipović won by TKO 1:10 into the fight. On July 1, 2006 at Pride Critical Countdown Absolute, Filipović defeated 1992 Olympic judo gold medalist Hidehiko Yoshida by technical knockout (leg kicks) in the first round to move on to the semi-finals.

On September 10, 2006, Filipović won the Open-Weight Grand Prix at Pride Final Conflict Absolute. In the semi-finals, Filipović knocked out then-Pride Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva with his trademark left high kick. In the final match, Filipović won a third victory over Josh Barnett, who submitted after sustaining an eye injury from an eye poke. With these two victories, Filipović became the Pride Open-Weight Grand Prix Champion, the first widely recognized championship belt he has ever won. In a post-fight interview with Frank Trigg, Filipović stated if he had not won the tournament, it would have been his last night fighting. The night was also his birthday, and Filipović dedicated winning the tournament to his deceased father.

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

After his victory at the Open-Weight Grand Prix, a rematch between Filipović and Fedor Emelianenko failed to materialize and on December 12, 2006 Filipović pulled out of the New Year's Eve event, citing both a foot injury and Emelianenko's commitment to meet Mark Hunt at the card in question. Through his official website, Filipović revealed "I still can't kick like I want to. It's the best that we give more time to this injury to heal. I want to be in perfect shape for my next fights."[12] Also in December 2006, rumors began to surface about Filipović entertaining offers from other mixed martial arts organizations; the Ultimate Fighting Championship was one of the promotions that Filipović confirmed came forward with an offer.[13] Rumors continued to circulate about Filipović's future with the Pride FC organization and soon media websites were reporting that Filipović had chosen the UFC for his future.[14]

UFC president Dana White and the UFC officially announced on December 30, 2006 during the post-UFC 66 press conference, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, that Filipović had signed a two-year, six-fight deal with the Las Vegas-based mixed martial arts promotion. It was also announced that Filipović would make his UFC debut on February 3, 2007 at UFC 67 in Las Vegas against Eddie Sanchez, promoting him under the name Mirko "Cro Cop" alternatively with and without quotation marks. Filipović defeated Sanchez in the first round via TKO. Filipović entered the octagon under the Pride FC theme.

On April 21, 2007, Filipović faced Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 70 in Manchester, England. At 4:51 of round one, Gonzaga won with a head kick knockout. Filipović has stated since that the elbows on the ground confused and damaged him enough that he was disoriented after the stand up, contributing to the subsequent knock-out. During the fall to the canvas, Filipović suffered a minor injury to his ankle and a ligament was detached in his knee.[15] It was number 1 in the 'Deadliest Headkick Knockout' due to Gonzaga stealing Filipović's finisher, but the timing of the countdown coincided with their upcoming rematch on April 11, 2015.[16]

Filipović's next fight was on September 8, 2007 at UFC 75 against French kickboxer Cheick Kongo where he lost by unanimous decision. In a post-fight interview upon his return home, Filipović stated that he cracked a rib during the fight and that the three illegal knees to the groin he received also cost him some strength. Filipović trained with Remy Bonjasky and Gilbert Yvel, and 2003 Abu Dhabi Combat Club champion grappler Dean Lister for this fight. Lister joined Filipović at his home town for a month to train for this upcoming bout.[17] Filipović's coach was Vos Gym's main trainer and muay thai practitioner Ivan "Hydro" Hippolyte. According to his home page,[18] Marijan Žižanović is the new head coach again, since October 1, 2007. Žižanović was his K-1 trainer.

In September 2007, Filipović underwent nose surgery for a deviated septum.


On February 12, 2008, Filipović announced a visit to Japan on his blog.[19] With the foundation of the new MMA event, 'Dream', co-established by FEG running K-1 Hero's and the former Yarennoka! organizing committee members which had managed Pride FC, Filipović officiates ending his career in UFC and the participation into the new event.[20]

After much speculation and many possible rumoured opponents, (including Yoshihiro Nakao and Dong Sik Yoon), Fight Entertainment Group confirmed on March 11, 2008 that Filipović would face Tatsuya Mizuno at Dream 1 on March 15, 2008 at Saitama Arena, in Japan.[21]

When asked about the Croatian's current contract status with the UFC and whether it would interfere with his participation in 'Dream' events, Dream producer and front man Keiichi Sasahara said, "Though I can't share specific details about his contract, there will not be any foreseeable problems arising."[22]

Filipović was vague in answering the question himself, qualifying his response by mentioning his intent to return to the UFC sometime in the future.

"Well, as you all know, I had a bad period in my last two fights, which I'd lost in the UFC," Filipović said. "I don't want anyone to think that I'm running away from the UFC, but I was thinking a lot about how to continue with my career, and I think in this moment, I think Dream is the right place for me."[22]

"Another thing is that I never liked fighting in the cage. I always liked to fight in the ring. The second thing is that I liked fighting in Japan. Japan is like my second home—I feel like I'm home in Japan. All those reasons [have brought me] here, and I'm very happy that I'm going to fight here in Japan. But of course, one day, I don't know when, but definitely I'll be back in the UFC to show that it was just a bad period for me. Now I'm fully recovered, physically and mentally, most important mentally."[22]

On March 15, 2008 he defeated Tatsuya Mizuno by TKO in the 1st round at Dream 1.

His next fight was scheduled to be against Jerome Le Banner at Dream 5, after being rescheduled once due to Filipović sustaining a minor leg injury. However, it was later announced by Filipović himself on his webpage that he would be unable to fight due to his elbow injury worsening and needing surgery. Filipović underwent successful arthroscopic elbow repair in early July.

Filipović's next fight was against Alistair Overeem at Dream 6 on September 23, 2008.[23] After almost half of the first round saw Overeem takedown Filipović twice and the two fighters exchanging stand-up and ground strikes (with Filipović sustaining a cut) the bout was stopped and declared a no contest due to Overeem landing multiple knees to the groin of Filipović. Filipović stated after the match that he had wanted to continue to fight, as evident by his remaining in the ring, but the ringside doctor would not allow him to continue. Filipović's manager stated that the injury was not serious and that a rematch as soon as possible was sought. Filipović said that he was planning for a long fight and a KO towards the end. He expressed frustration and quoted "I'm angry it ended this way, it seemed as if he was the dominant one, however I wasn't in trouble for a second and was waiting for my opportunities. I prepared very well because I thought the match could last a while. I thought I would knock him down in the end."[24][25] However, in the recording of the fight, Filipović's corner relayed to the announcers that his right testicle had been lodged inside of his body and that he could not continue. He later limped out of the arena.

Filipović defeated the 30 cm taller and 50 kg heavier opponent from Korea, Choi Hong-man, on December 31 at FieLDS Dynamite!! 2008. The winning leg kick was to the back side of his opponent's left knee and resulted in a TKO win for Filipović. After the fight, Filipović announced that he would have a medical procedure carried out on his injured knee.

Return to the UFC[edit]

Mirko Filipović defeated Pat Barry by submission due to a rear naked choke at UFC 115 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

On May 18 Filipović issued a press release on his official website and his MMAid account stating his scheduled return to the UFC. His first match upon returning was at UFC 99 in Germany against Mostapha Al-turk. During the bout, Filipović knocked down Al-Turk with punches within the first round, then allowed him to stand. The fight ended when Filipović finished Al-Turk with a flurry of punches after an eye poke that left Al-Turk unable to defend himself.

After the one-fight agreement with the UFC, it was announced Filipović was scheduled to return to Dream to face Siala "Mighty Mo" Siliga on July 20 at Dream.10.[26] On July 3, 2009 however, it was reported that he might have re-signed with the UFC after getting an offer "he couldn't refuse" by UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta who personally flew to Filipović's residence in Zagreb.[27] It was later confirmed at the UFC Fan Expo by Fertitta that Filipović had indeed signed a three fight contract with the UFC.[28]

Filipović fought up and coming striker Junior dos Santos at UFC 103. During the third round, Filipović sustained an uppercut to his left eye that caused him to verbally submit by waving his hand at the referee and motioning that there was a problem with his eye. The fight was officially stopped due to submission, giving Dos Santos the win. After the fight, Filipović showed signs of frustration, stating, "I don't feel the hunger anymore. I started playing it safe, I'm not ready to take risks."[29] A few days later, Filipović seemed more upbeat, and looked to continue his career, saying fighting is the only life he knows, and at least wants to honor the last two fights on his UFC contract. He was quoted as saying, "I did a few things wrong in training and in preparation for the Dos Santos fight, and will find the motivation and strength needed to come back".

Since then, Filipović has hired legendary former Muay Thai champion Ivan Hippolyte and revamped his whole training team. The source went on to say "After the defeat by Dos Santos, Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic has announced drastic changes in the training methods and composition of Team CroCop. Marjan Zizanovic is no longer his boxing coach. Instead, Cro Cop is now working with the Dutch Muay Thai legend Ivan Hippolyte, who these days resides in Zagreb. Filipović will combine training at his own facility with visits to the Netherlands where he can train with top-notch sparring partners. Igor Pokrajac, Cro Cop’s long-time friend and sparring partner, is also no longer in Filipović's team. Pokrajac continues his career with the UFC, but is no longer training with Filipović although the pair remain on good terms."

Filipović was scheduled to face Ben Rothwell on February 21, 2010 at UFC 110.[30] Just days before the fight, Rothwell was forced to withdraw from the event because of an illness.[31] Australian fighter Anthony Perosh stepped in to replace Rothwell.[32]

During the fight, Filipović dominated for two rounds before opening a cut on Perosh's forehead which forced a doctor stoppage before the third round and awarded the TKO win to Filipović. Filipović fought despite receiving a cut in training that required stitches.[33]

Filipović next fought against fellow former Kickboxer Pat Barry at UFC 115 in Vancouver, Canada. After being knocked down twice to the canvas in the first round by Barry's strikes, he won the second round after utilizing his ground game. The third round saw Filipović open up with a head kick followed by an axe kick to Barry's head. He ended the fight with a strong flurry, dropping Barry against the cage where he continued his assault with numerous punches to the face. He then took his back and defeated Barry by rear naked choke, earning him Submission of the Night honors which Mirko had joked to Dana White and the crowd earlier that he deserved it. Prior to the Barry fight, Filipović was detained by Canadian officials, who threatened to deport him. He revealed that the Canadian officials had asked for details of his activities in the Lučko ATJ (anti-terrorist unit) that he had joined a few years after the Croatian War of Independence. Filipović was held for a total of six hours, across two days.[34]

Filipović faced former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir on September 25, 2010 at UFC 119, replacing an injured Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira.[35] There was a brief scare the weekend before the fight when Cro Cop suffered an eye injury in Croatia during his final day of training, but upon arrival in the U.S., was medically cleared to compete.[36] It was a largely uneventful fight in which both fighters stayed on their feet. Neither fighter managed to deliver any significant damage to the other until Filipović was defeated by Mir at 4:02 of the third round by KO due to a knee strike to the head. In a later interview for a Croatian television station Cro Cop stated that he suffered a disc herniation three weeks before the fight with Mir. He decided not to inform the UFC about this injury because he believed it would seem as if he was trying to pull out of the fight.[37]

Filipović was defeated by Ultimate Fighter alumnus Brendan Schaub on March 19, 2011 at UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones by way of KO at 3:44 of the third round. Shortly after the knockout loss to Schaub, Dana White stated that Filipović is most likely retiring. Since this time, Dana White has appeared to have had a change of heart. In a recent interview White said "This guy wants to fight again, and I owe him another fight." White also added "Do I think he should have retired? Yeah," White said. "But I don't think he's in one of these situations like Chuck Liddell, who needed to retire right then. He's a man, a grown man, and if he wants to continue to fight, that's his right." [38]

In his last fight with the UFC, Filipović was defeated by Roy Nelson at UFC 137 by TKO due to punches in round 3. Even though he looked to be in good physical condition for the fight, he still did not look like the same fighter from his days in PRIDE FC. In an interview to a Croatian television station Filipović revealed that he suffered an arm injury in training 10 days before the fight. Filipović said the injury came as a result of him sparring with Pat Barry and that the doctors told him he had to go into surgery because a tendon had separated from a bone, but he refused. Filipović decided to go through with the fight without informing the UFC officials about his injury.[37]

Retirement from MMA and return to Kickboxing[edit]

After the loss to Roy Nelson, Filipović stated: "I was treated like a king from the beginning. It's in my best interest that this is my farewell fight, thanks everybody."

However, he then revealed in an interview that he has not completely retired, but that his days with the UFC, and possibly MMA, are now finished. He announced that he would return to kickboxing to fight at Cro Cop Final Fight 2012 at the Zagreb Arena in Zagreb, Croatia on March 10, 2012.[39] Mirko defeated Ray Sefo by unanimous decision.[40]

Filipović fought on May 27, 2012 at K-1 World MAX 2012 World Championship Tournament Final 16 in Madrid, Spain against Loren Javier Jorge, where he won by knockout in the second round with a left uppercut.[41][42]

He faced Randy Blake at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2012 in Tokyo Final 16 on October 14, 2012.[43][44] There was a strange moment in the third round where, after a break and restart, Filipović attempted to apologize for a late uppercut, failing to put his hands up to defend and leading to a straight punch by Blake that resulted in a knockdown. Despite this incident, Cro Cop was able to outfight the American en route to a majority decision win.[45]

He was scheduled to fight at Cro Cop Final Fight 2013 on March 15, 2013 in Zagreb,[46] and expressed his desire to face Gökhan Saki.[47] The event was then merged with the K-1 World Grand Prix 2012 Final, and was the first K-1 World Grand Prix held outside of Japan. He faced American boxer Jarrell Miller in the quarter-finals where the panel of judges awarded "Cro Cop" a unanimous decision win due to Cro Cop landing more significant strikes. He advanced to the semi-finals where he outpointed Pavel Zhuravlev to another unanimous decision. In the final, he fought Ismael Londt and floored the Suriname fighter with his patented left high kick in round two en route to yet another unanimous decision victory to win the tournament, thirteen years after he had finished as runner-up in 1999.[48][49][50][51]

He lost to Remy Bonjasky by a widely disputed majority decision in a rematch at Glory 14: Zagreb in Zagreb, Croatia on March 8, 2014.[52][53][54] He was set to rematch Pat Barry at Glory 17: Los Angeles in Inglewood, California on June 21, 2014[55] but Barry withdrew from the fight for undisclosed reasons and was replaced by Sergei Kharitonov.[56] Kharitonov then also withdrew, however,[57] and was replaced by Jarrell Miller.[58] Cro Cop won the rematch, against Jarrell Miller, by unanimous decision.[59]

Return to MMA[edit]

On August 8, 2012 the news came that Filipović had said that he would like to return to MMA,[60] and on December 31, 2012 he made his comeback against former sumo wrestler and MMA newcomer Shinichi Suzukawa at Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2012 in Tokyo, Japan.[61] He won the fight by submission due to an armbar at 1:18 of the first round.[62]

Mirko Filipović was expected to rematch with Alexander Emelianenko in October or November 2013 in Russia.[63] On October 25, 2013, it was reported that Alexander Emelianenko was accused of assaulting a 63-year-old man in a bar.[64] The fight organizer terminated the contract with Emelianenko and announced that Filipovic would face a different opponent from Russia.[65] Mirko Filipović eventually faced Oleksiy Oliynyk, who came in as a replacement for Emelianenko, on November 8, 2013 at Legends 2 in Moscow, Russia.[66] He lost the fight by submission in the first round.[67]

On August 23, 2014, Filipović defeated former Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii via doctor stoppage at an Inoki Genome Federation (IGF) event in Japan to win the IGF Heavyweight Championship.[68][69][70]

Filipović was expected to fight Satoshi Ishii in a rematch at December 31, 2014 for the IGF Heavyweight Championship.[71] However, the rematch was cancelled due to a rib injury sustained by Ishii. Filipović stayed on the card and a new match up was being sought for a brief period.[72] On December 1, however, it was reported that Ishii would be able to heal up in time to take the fight, and the rematch was official once again.[73] Filipović defeated Ishii via TKO, landing a head kick and follow up punches just as the second round was coming to a close. Ishi was unable to make it to his corner under his own power, forcing the referee to call an end to the fight.[74][75] Following his return to UFC, Filipović was stripped of the IGF Championship on January 23, 2015.[76]

Third stint in the UFC[edit]

On January 20, 2015, Bloody Elbow reported that Cro-Cop had re-signed with the UFC. Days earlier, Bellator MMA CEO Scott Coker had expressed interest in signing the IGF heavyweight champion.[77][78] This would mark the fighter's third stint with the promotion.

A rematch with Gabriel Gonzaga took place on April 11, 2015 at UFC Fight Night 64.[79] After losing the first two rounds, Mirko landed an elbow in the clinch which rocked Gonzaga and finished the fight via TKO after landing multiple elbows and punches on the ground.[80][81] The bout earned both men Fight of the Night bonus honors.[82]

Personal life[edit]

Filipović was born in the village of Privlaka in Vinkovci, Croatia.[83] Filipović and his wife have two sons.[84][85] On his UFC profile, Filipović lists his father as his hero.[86] Filipović developed a friendship with Pat Barry following their fight at UFC 115. Barry frequently trains with Filipović at his training center in Zagreb.

Filipović is fluent in English.[87]

Film career[edit]

Filipović starred in the 2005 action film Ultimate Force as Axon Rey. There were plans for the sequel of the film, titled Ultimate Force II: S.I.N. Retribution, but the project was canceled before the production started. Mirko Filipović was set to star as Axon Rey once again.

Political career[edit]

Mirko Filipović was elected to Croatian parliament where he served one term. He was elected on a list for Social Democratic Party of Croatia. He later supported Ivo Josipović for president of Croatia.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]


  • Only person to win K-1 and Pride FC Grand Prix
  • One of two fighters to win a world championship in MMA' and K-1


  • International Kick-Boxing Federation
    • IKBF World Heavyweight Full Contact Champion

Mixed martial arts[edit]

  • On The Mat
    • 2006 MMA Fighter of the Year[95]

Amateur boxing[edit]

  • Czech Amateur Boxing Association
    • 1998 Usti Grand Prix Bronze Medalist[102]
  • International Committee for the Mediterranean Games
    • 1997 Mediterranean Games Bronze Medalist[103]
  • Hellenic Boxing Federation
    • 1997 Acropolis Cup Silver Medalist[104]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 31–11–2 (1) Gabriel Gonzaga TKO (elbows and punches) UFC Fight Night: Gonzaga vs. Cro Cop 2 April 11, 2015 3 3:30 Kraków, Poland Fight of the Night.
Win 30–11–2 (1) Satoshi Ishii TKO (head kick and punches) Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2014 December 31, 2014 2 5:00 Tokyo, Japan Defended the IGF Heavyweight Championship; Later vacated title.
Win 29–11–2 (1) Satoshi Ishii TKO (doctor stoppage) Inoki Genome Fight 2 August 23, 2014 2 2:37 Tokyo, Japan Won the IGF Heavyweight Championship.
Loss 28–11–2 (1) Oleksiy Oliynyk Submission (scarf-hold headlock) Legend Fight Show 2 November 8, 2013 1 4:42 Moscow, Russia
Win 28–10–2 (1) Shinichi Suzukawa Submission (armbar) Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2012 December 31, 2012 1 1:18 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 27–10–2 (1) Roy Nelson TKO (punches) UFC 137 October 29, 2011 3 1:30 Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Loss 27–9–2 (1) Brendan Schaub KO (punch) UFC 128 March 19, 2011 3 3:44 Newark, New Jersey, USA
Loss 27–8–2 (1) Frank Mir KO (knee) UFC 119 September 25, 2010 3 4:02 Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Win 27–7–2 (1) Pat Barry Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC 115 June 12, 2010 3 4:30 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Submission of the Night.
Win 26–7–2 (1) Anthony Perosh TKO (doctor stoppage) UFC 110 February 20, 2010 2 5:00 Sydney, Australia
Loss 25–7–2 (1) Junior dos Santos Verbal Submission (eye injury) UFC 103 September 19, 2009 3 2:00 Dallas, Texas, United States
Win 25–6–2 (1) Mostapha Al Turk TKO (punches) UFC 99 June 13, 2009 1 3:06 Cologne, Germany
Win 24–6–2 (1) Hong Man Choi TKO (leg kick) Dynamite!! 2008 December 31, 2008 1 6:32 Saitama, Japan
NC 23–6–2 (1) Alistair Overeem NC (knee to the groin) Dream 6 September 23, 2008 1 6:09 Saitama, Japan
Win 23–6–2 Tatsuya Mizuno TKO (punches) Dream 1 March 15, 2008 1 0:56 Saitama, Japan
Loss 22–6–2 Cheick Kongo Decision (unanimous) UFC 75 September 8, 2007 3 5:00 London, England
Loss 22–5–2 Gabriel Gonzaga KO (head kick) UFC 70 April 21, 2007 1 4:51 Manchester, England UFC Heavyweight title eliminator.
Win 22–4–2 Eddie Sanchez TKO (punches) UFC 67 February 3, 2007 1 4:33 Las Vegas, Nevada, USA UFC debut.
Win 21–4–2 Josh Barnett Submission (punches) Pride Final Conflict Absolute September 10, 2006 1 7:32 Saitama, Japan 2006 Pride Open-Weight Grand Prix Final. 2006 Pride World Grand Prix Open-Weight Champion.
Win 20–4–2 Wanderlei Silva KO (head kick) Pride Final Conflict Absolute September 10, 2006 1 5:22 Saitama, Japan 2006 Pride Open-Weight Grand Prix Semifinal. 2006 Knockout of the Year.
Win 19–4–2 Hidehiko Yoshida TKO (leg kicks) Pride Critical Countdown Absolute July 1, 2006 1 7:38 Saitama, Japan 2006 Pride Open-Weight Grand Prix Quarterfinal.
Win 18–4–2 Ikuhisa Minowa KO (punches) Pride Total Elimination Absolute May 5, 2006 1 1:10 Osaka, Japan 2006 Pride Open-Weight Grand Prix Opening Round.
Loss 17–4–2 Mark Hunt Decision (split) Pride Shockwave 2005 December 31, 2005 3 5:00 Saitama, Japan
Win 17–3–2 Josh Barnett Decision (unanimous) Pride 30 October 23, 2005 3 5:00 Saitama, Japan
Loss 16–3–2 Fedor Emelianenko Decision (unanimous) Pride Final Conflict 2005 August 28, 2005 3 5:00 Saitama, Japan For the Pride Heavyweight Championship. 2005 Fight of the Year.
Win 16–2–2 Ibragim Magomedov TKO (body kick) Pride Critical Countdown 2005 June 26, 2005 1 3:53 Saitama, Japan
Win 15–2–2 Mark Coleman KO (punches) Pride 29 February 20, 2005 1 3:40 Saitama, Japan
Win 14–2–2 Kevin Randleman Submission (guillotine choke) Pride Shockwave 2004 December 31, 2004 1 0:41 Saitama, Japan
Win 13–2–2 Josh Barnett Submission (shoulder injury) Pride 28 October 31, 2004 1 0:46 Saitama, Japan
Win 12–2–2 Alexander Emelianenko KO (head kick and punches) Pride Final Conflict 2004 August 15, 2004 1 2:09 Saitama, Japan
Win 11–2–2 Shungo Oyama KO (punches) Pride Bushido 4 July 19, 2004 1 1:00 Aichi, Japan
Win 10–2–2 Hiromitsu Kanehara Decision (unanimous) Pride Bushido 3 May 23, 2004 2 5:00 Kanagawa, Japan
Loss 9–2–2 Kevin Randleman KO (punches) Pride Total Elimination 2004 April 25, 2004 1 1:57 Saitama, Japan 2004 Pride Heavyweight Grand Prix Opening Round.
Win 9–1–2 Yoshihisa Yamamoto TKO (punches) Pride Bushido 2 February 15, 2004 1 2:12 Saitama, Japan
Win 8–1–2 Ron Waterman TKO (soccer kicks) Pride 27 February 1, 2004 1 4:37 Osaka, Japan
Loss 7–1–2 Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira Submission (armbar) Pride Final Conflict 2003 November 9, 2003 2 1:45 Tokyo, Japan For the Interim Pride Heavyweight Championship. 2003 Fight of the Year.
Win 7–0–2 Dos Caras Jr. KO (head kick) Pride Bushido 1 October 5, 2003 1 0:46 Saitama, Japan
Win 6–0–2 Igor Vovchanchyn KO (head kick) Pride Total Elimination 2003 August 10, 2003 1 1:29 Saitama, Japan 2003 Knockout of the Year.
Win 5–0–2 Heath Herring TKO (body kick and punches) Pride 26 June 8, 2003 1 3:17 Kanagawa, Japan
Win 4–0–2 Kazuyuki Fujita Decision (unanimous) Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2002 December 31, 2002 3 5:00 Saitama, Japan
Win 3–0–2 Kazushi Sakuraba TKO (eye injury) Pride Shockwave 2002 August 28, 2002 2 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Draw 2–0–2 Wanderlei Silva Draw Pride 20 April 28, 2002 5 3:00 Kanagawa, Japan Fought under special rules.
Win 2–0–1 Yuji Nagata TKO (head kick and punches) Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2001 December 31, 2001 1 0:21 Saitama, Japan
Draw 1–0–1 Nobuhiko Takada Draw Pride 17 November 3, 2001 5 3:00 Tokyo, Japan Pride debut.
Win 1–0 Kazuyuki Fujita TKO (cut) K-1 Andy Memorial 2001 Japan GP Final August 19, 2001 1 0:39 Saitama, Japan MMA debut.

Kickboxing record[edit]

Kickboxing Record

Legend:       Win       Loss       Draw/No contest       Notes

See also[edit]


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  3. ^ Normally reclusive, content 'Cro Cop' Filipovic finally opens up
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  5. ^ “”. "Mirko Cro Cop VS Jerome Le Banner". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-07-09. 
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  9. ^ Lewis, Destiny (April 7, 2007). "Fedor Emelianenko the Best Fighter in the World?". Gambling 911. Retrieved June 7, 2009. 
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  43. ^ K-1 Final 16 Matches Unveiled
  44. ^ K-1 WGP Final 16, Finalized Fight Card For This Sunday, October 14
  45. ^ K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 Live Results
  46. ^ Another Cro Cop Final Fight On March 15, Plans For 2013
  47. ^ Mirko Cro Cop wants to fight Gokhan Saki in 2013
  48. ^ K-1 World Grand Prix 2013 Live Results
  49. ^ K-1 World Grand Prix Final 8 results and LIVE kickboxing coverage from Zagreb, Croatia TODAY (March 15)
  50. ^ 2012 K-1 World Grand Prix winner: Mirko 'Cro Cop' turns back the clock in Croatia, tops Ismael Londt in final
  51. ^ Mirko Cro Cop Gets His Cro Cop On, Wins 2013 K-1 Grand Prix (March 21)
  52. ^ Remy Bonjasky Victorious in His Retirement Fight Against Cro Cop
  53. ^ Remy Bonjasky Walks Away With Controversial Decision Over ‘Cro Cop’ at Glory 14
  54. ^ Glory 14 Results and Recap
  55. ^ UFC veterans Cro Cop, Barry to rematch at Glory 17 on June 21
  56. ^ Miguel Torres Added to GLORY 17 Tournament, Cro Cop vs. Kharitonov
  57. ^ Sergei Kharitonov Out of Cro Cop Bout at GLORY 17
  58. ^ Jarrell Miller vs. Mirko Cro Cop II Set for GLORY 17
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External links[edit]