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Video Tribute: Cro Cop’s 5 Greatest Moments

It’s looking like MMA great Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic might call it a career and move on to a life that does not involve kicking people in their heads.  That’s sad for those of us who remember his glory days in Pride, but it’s also an inevitable fact of life.  No matter how well you do something, you can’t do it well forever.  Just ask Mötley Crüe.  But at the risk of eulogizing Cro Cop too soon, we wanted to pay tribute to his greatest moments in the ring.  Nothing gold can stay, but we’re guessing these victims will never forget their beatdowns.

#5: Cro Cop vs. Aleksander Emelianenko, Pride Final Conflict, 8/15/04

Pride.Mirko.CroCop.vs.Aleksander.Emelianenko… by gremlinusha

Some of you youngsters may find this hard to believe, but there was a time when Aleksander “Don’t Ask Me To Take a Blood Test” Emelianenko was a fresh-faced killer on the Pride scene, knocking dudes out and not feeling one way or another about it.  Then he ran up against Cro Cop, who fed him a steady diet of straight lefts and a brain-jarring high kick that effectively ended it.  Though Fedor would later win a decision over Cro Cop in a bit of reluctant revenge for his embarrassing younger bro, it didn’t cancel out the sheer brutality that left brother Aleks on his back in a mummy pose.

#4: Cro Cop vs. Igor Vovchanchyn, Pride Total Elimination, 8/10/03

Mirko Crocop vs Igor Vovchanchyn by MORESDUTROI

Even before Fedor Emelianenko was the dominant heavyweight with the man-on-the-street build, Igor Vovchanchyn showed fight fans that a pale, doughy, almost infant-like physique didn’t necessarily mean that you couldn’t knock suckas out.  Against Cro Cop, however, he found an opponent who could take a shot as well as he could give one, and it didn’t take long for Mirko to find his range and go upside Igor’s head with a little foot music.

#3: Cro Cop vs. Heath Herring, Pride 26, 6/8/03

If you thought Cro Cop’s kicks could only end a fight when they landed in the cranial region, think again.  After he tossed around Heath Herring like he was a rascally Croatian village orphan, Cro Cop could see that “The Texas Crazy Horse” was ready to quit.  All he needed was a little help.  That help came in the form of a kick to the liver that crumpled Herring in the corner.  Too bad for him those nice Pride refs were perfectly willing to let him take about fifteen mostly unnecessary punches before deciding to stop it.

#2: Cro Cop vs. Wanderlei Silva, Pride Final Conflict Absolute, 9/10/06

Sure, this was Cro Cop’s chance to fight someone out of his weight class and put a man-sized beating on a smaller opponent.  But dammit, what else are crazy open weight tournaments for?  At least now we know why no one else does them.  After roughing Silva up for a few minutes and weathering the storms of looping hooks, Cro Cop found the opening he never really stops looking for and it was time to bounce a kick off Wanderlei’s dome.  Thank God Frank Trigg was on the mic to give us his trademark catch-phrase.

#1: Cro Cop vs. Josh Barnett, Pride Final Conflict Absolute, 9/10/06

We had no way of knowing it at the time, but his open weight GP victory over Josh Barnett was truly the peak of Cro Cop’s career.  The aggression, power, and single-minded focus on his opponent’s total destruction that he displayed in this fight is everything that he lacked in his outing.  It may not make him feel much better now, but this fight is proof that Cro Cop was an absolute terror once.  Just because it’s over doesn’t mean it wasn’t great while it lasted.

Cagepotato Comments

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Smeewa- September 22, 2009 at 10:09 pm
awesome liver kick.

Hey CP i reckon you should make a Top Five leg Kick TKO's

i reckon it would be awesome
Smeewa- September 22, 2009 at 9:52 pm
time to take him to the glue factory.
Beatingu- September 22, 2009 at 10:55 am
He is one of my absolute favorite champions in mma history. I just don't think he was ever comfortable fighting in the octagon. Couple that with the head kick he took....Cro Cop is still the man and will be sorely missed.
BuckWild- September 22, 2009 at 10:29 am
Maybe Mirko can compete in the New "Masters" division when the UFC creates it? He could go down to 205 if needed (maybe). But would rule at heavy. I don't know.. Do you guys think he would have it in him to beat Randy ? Probably not..
KidDinomite- September 22, 2009 at 10:26 am
Hahaha..... Barnett tapped to strikes!!!
Fedor vs. Bas- September 22, 2009 at 10:20 am
Why does CP hate Trigg so much? He is the best MMA commentator/announcer. He's way better than Goldberg/Rogan and Mir in the WEC.
Fedor vs. Bas- September 22, 2009 at 10:16 am
CroCop's head kick against Igor Vovchanchyn is definitely the most sound connection. I always use it as proof that a person can not get kicked in the head hard enough to disconnect it from the body.
bleve- September 22, 2009 at 10:02 am
1-2 more fights... and use your damn leg to the body.
Harry Russo- September 22, 2009 at 9:52 am
Honorable mention should go to when he kicked Ibragim Magomedov's liver out of his body. That has to be one of the best body shot KO's ever.
GEE-yuh-TEEN- September 22, 2009 at 9:43 am
Each man only has a fixed number of fights in him and you never know when you're out until after you've run out.
M1-Grovel- September 22, 2009 at 9:41 am
I never got hyped for mma events like i did for Pride open weight tournaments and he was the #1 reason why.

I'm gonna miss that guy, thanks for the memories
Jugger- September 22, 2009 at 9:37 am
I really felt like Mirko's Open Weight Grand Prix win was tarnished (which the UFC kept erroneously referring to as the Heavy Weight Grand Prix last Saturday night). First of all, he didn't fight anybody remotely his own size until the final. Go back and look at who he beat to get to the semi-finals... it's really sad. You can see that Pride was spoon-feeding him to the final. Furthermore, Barnett had just had an absolute 3 round war with Big Nog (almost submitting him at the final bell with a knee-bar). Barnett got an hour of rest and then had to fight a pretty-much-fresh CroCop in the final. (Can you imagine fighting Big Nog for three rounds and then having to go out and fight again in the same night?)

Winning the OWGP was one of CroCop's better achievements, but I think there is a lot of overlooked context there. Mirko's biggest drawing power was the anticipation of if/when he would uncork his left foot and the drama that unfolded in the ring due to his personality. For instance, watching his spirit wilt in his fight with Mark Hunt.

WhiteOnRice- September 22, 2009 at 9:34 am
...and igor was never able to chew his food without assistance again.
steampunk22- September 22, 2009 at 9:33 am
Yup, good career, but time to stop. Entering into the UFC really didnt do him any favours, he was never really at the same level as in Pride.

The second video reminds me of one of my old pride pet peaves, the ref mounted camera being the camera of choice for the TV feed intermittently! Man, that used to drive me up the wall, the ref is always just kind of capturing the fighters in the frame lol

Enjoy the fishing trip Mirko, you earned it.
Sheps- September 22, 2009 at 9:30 am
Nice move CP. Its about time we started showing CroCop some love.

I don't know why, but things seem so much more tragic with Cro Cop now that his career has gone down the drain whereas Wanderlei is like 1-6 in his last 7 fights and no one gives a shit. I put it on the fact that he kicked people in the face while they were down to our lack of compasion.
Viva Hate- September 22, 2009 at 9:28 am
At least he is smart enough to know when to let go and walk away before he makes a complete ass of himself , thats right I am talking to you Brett Favre, Kiss, and Herschel Walker, hang it up!