Athletic Heroes: Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic

Thats how this Croatian born, former Croatian Special Forces member and current Mixed Martial Arts fighter descrbes his legendary leg kicks.

Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovik (Cro Cop is his nickname, short for Croatian Cop) is one of the most feared heavyweights in mixed martial arts. It only takes one strike, whether it be from a right hook or a left kick the head, for Mirko to put his opponents to sleep. Mirko is a former Pride fighting Championship champion, as well as a K-1 kickboxing legend.

Whats interesting about Mirko is not his current fighting career, but how he got to where he is now.

Mirko started his career in law enforcement in his home country of Croatia. Not only was he an outstanding officer, he spent 7 years in an elite anti-terrorism group known as ATJ lucko(Later on, also serving on the Croatian Parliament, where he lobbied for a higher law enforcement budget). It was during his career in law enforcement that he got started in Kick boxing, where he had an outstanding amateur record of 40-5 with an unheard of 33 wins via knock out.

His transfer to professional status in 1996 was seemless as could be, winning 6 of his 8 first fights in less than 3 years. His kick boxing career culminated in 2003 with an 86 second, 1st round knock out of fighting giant, Bob Sapp.

Crop Cop then diverted his full training attention to MMA, where he’d already fought several time while simultaneously training for K-1 Kickboxing. Pride fighting championship was his new home and the fans loved his style. After several successful years in Pride, an up and coming fighting company out of the USA purchased the rights to Pride and disbanded the league. You may know this company as the UFC. UFC president, Dana White, invited Cro Cop to fight in the UFC and even signed him to a 2 year, 6 fight contract. Unfortunatly, his second fight in the UFC was devastating to his career as he was defeated, Ironically, by a strong right leg kick to the neck by Gabriel Gonzaga.

After another unscuccessful fight in the UFC, Mirko returned to his self proclaimed “second home”, Japan, to fight for an up and coming company known as Dream. Mirko eventually successfully returned to the UFC cage and is currently in the process of working out a 2 fight deal with the UFC.

Mirko’s story is one of hard work, self sacrefice and dedication to not only the sport of fighting, but love of country as well. Heros like Mirko are all around us and should be celebrated for their talent and selfless service to country and community.

Keep checking back for more Spotlights on Athletic Heros.

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