Following newly appointed Glory CEO Rich Franklin’s statement that “every option is open” to a Glory/Bellator night, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipović would make the perfect headliner for Glory 18. Trying to combine a showcase of talent in both organizations would present many challenges, but headlining with an MMA and kickboxing veteran’s last bout would make for a historic addition to an already exciting night.
Cro Cop has bounced back and forth between kickboxing and MMA on and off in his professional career, rising at a young age through the ranks of K-1, Pride, Dream, The UFC, the IGF and Glory. Most recently, Cro Cop took a majority loss to Remy Bonjasky at Glory 14, won a unanimous decision at Glory 17 against Jarell Miller and took an MMA victory against Shatoshi Ishii at the IGF Championship on August 23rd. His fighting spirit is clearly as strong as ever, but life as a competitive mixed martial artist is often a very rough road. You don’t get a kickboxing record of 31-8, an amateur boxing record of 40-5 and an MMA record of 29-11 without hitting some bumps along the way.
Calling it quits after a stellar fighting career is never an easy move, but as Cro Cop approaches his 40’s many fans are conceding that possibility is becoming more of a reality. He’s a former K-1 Grand Prix Champion, Pride FC champion…his list of accomplishments and historic fights is remarkable. But as time marches on the question of “How far will he go?” as a competitor starts to get replaced with “How much longer does he have?” Answering the last question requires a good deal of careful thought and even though he may not feel he’s anywhere near the end of his fighting career it’s likely Cro Cop’s taking everything into consideration.
A fighter that cares more about his image might want to consider walking out before he’s carried out, but combing your hair and looking good on camera doesn’t win you fights. Being the living legend that he is, the toughest bout he may stand to face is that against time itself. But it’s not all tears and sadness, as any good fighter will know when it’s time to adapt, so if a change in career is at hand he should have no problem making use of his immense talent and vast knowledge in combat sports by helping to groom some of the next generation of competitive mixed martial artists.
Then again, if all else fails, unless Expendables 4 has a completely filled cast, Stallone shouldn’t have any problem signing on an international fighting superstar to continue his acting career.