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Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipović

Updated: 2010-01-29


Country Croatia Age 42
Club Cro Cop Squad Height 188 cm / 6.2"
Style Kick Boxing Weight 103 kg / 227 lbs
Website http://www.crocop.tk and http://www.mirko-crocop.com/ Categories WGP

IKBF World Heavyweight Full Contact Champion K-1 Grand Prix 1999 Finalist K-1 World Grand Prix 2000 in Fukuoka Finalist

Results Total Win KOs Loss Draw
K1 Fights 24 17 13 7 0
Other Fights 0 0 0 0 0
Statistics 24 71% 54% 29% 0


Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipović (born on September 10, 1974) is a Croatian kickboxer turned mixed martial artist. The very popular Filipović is among the few martial artists who have been highly successful in fighting in both K-1 and Pride Fighting Championships. He currently lives in Zagreb with his wife Klaudija and son

Filipović is perhaps best-known for his left high-kicks, the most dangerous weapon in his arsenal; upon impact with the head, numerous opponents have been knocked out instantly. Filipović also employs ferocious low leg kicks, body kicks, and punches to the body and head. His kicks have become ever stronger over the years, due to working on his thigh muscles with weights and body weight exercises. His thighs have gotten so impressive that he is known in Japan as, "Meaty Thighs." He often spurns longer combinations for solitary strikes intended to finish an opponent instantly. Filipović is also a very keen strategist. He often counterstrikes against larger opponents and attacks aggressively against similarly sized or smaller opponents.

Martial Arts career

Filipović started his professional career in 1996 as a kickboxer, following the footsteps of his compatriot Branko Cikatić. 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).


In 1996 at the age of 21 Filipović entered the K-1 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 dropping 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 destroying highly regarded K-1 fighter Mike Bernardo in what many K-1 fans regard as one of the biggest upset victories in K-1 history. Filipović then went on to knock out Japanese star Musashi and Australian karate fighter Sam Greco on the same night before being stopped again by Hoost.

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 KO then-undefeated giant, "The Beast" Bob Sapp in 86 seconds.

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 was the major factor in this loss. Mirko actually entered the ring limping on one leg due to injuries sustained in previous bouts. Bernardo repeatedly attacked Mirko's damaged leg and rendered the Croatian unable to continue due to injuries. Mirko 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 knocked out by Canadian fighter Michael McDonald in the first round. Shortly thereafter, he switched to Pride FC.

MMA Fighting style

Filipović is renowned for his devastating left high kick which he has used to knock out many of his opponents. Submission specialists and wrestlers are considered to pose the greatest threat to Filipović. In defending against those fighting styles, Filipović possesses arguably the best takedown defense in MMA also making use of the body scissors while down. Furthermore, as time has gone on, he has also improved his ground fighting as well as his submission fighting, training with the likes of Fabricio Werdum and members of his Cro Cop Squad Gym.


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. 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 (2nd round TKO), and Bob Sapp in April 2003 (1st round KO).

Cro Cop landing a straight left against Hiromitsu Kanehara at PRIDE Bushido 3CroCop's string of PRIDE wins secured him a chance to fight for the interim heavyweight champion title against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in November 2003. Filipović's stand-up fighting proved effective in the first round, controlling the fight from his feet. However, Nogueira prevailed in the second round after 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 Fabricio Werdum (a former world champion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) as his coach, working on improving his ground fighting skills. At the PRIDE GP heavyweight tournament in 2004, he was knocked out in a shocking upset defeat by Kevin Randleman. Filipović later made up for this loss by submitting Randleman in a rematch at the end of 2004.

Filipović repeatedly requested PRIDE to let him challenge the heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko. After winning six straight matches since his defeat by Randleman, including a knock-out victory against Aleksander Emelianenko (the 6'6", 255 lb brother of the champion), Filipović received a chance to fight Emelianenko for the title on August 28, 2005 at Pride's Final Conflict 2005 event. After three rounds, Emelianenko won by unanimous decision and retained his title. Emelianenko, considered by many to be the best MMA fighter the world has ever seen, admitted Filipović to be his toughest opponent to date. Filipović later said on Croatian national television that he came very exhausted to the match, mostly because he couldn't get used to the time difference in Japan and sleeping problems he had. The champion, likewise, was not in his top form. According to Fedor’s official website he was to begin preparations for surgery to reset bones in his previously hurt right hand the morning after the title fight with Mirko. According to Fedor he “could not take full advantage of right hand during the striking exchanges and had to try to close the distance”.

On October 23, 2005, less than two months after the loss to Emelianenko, Mirko stepped back into the ring to rematch open weight King of Pancrase Josh Barnett (at an event fittingly named 'Starting Over'). After three rounds, Filipović received a unanimous judges' decision victory.

Cro Cop knocking out Aleksander Emelianenko with a trademark left high kick at PRIDE Final Conflict 2004On 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. Quite unusually Mirko was wearing shoes for this fight, something that had no precedent. This had led to speculation and statements from his camp about Mirko having sustained injuries to his feet before the fight. Filipović himself has never confirmed these speculations. Also, Mirko had 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.

Filipović re-entered the PRIDE FC ring competing in PRIDE's 2006 Open Weight tournament on May 5, 2006. His first match at the Total Elimination Absolute event was against Ikuhisa Minowa, the lighter but highly acclaimed pro-wrestler and Mixed Martial Artist. Mirko won the fight with devastating punches and ground and pound resulting in a TKO victory in 1 minute 10 seconds of the 1st round. On July 1, 2006 at the Critical Countdown Absolute event Mirko defeated 1992 Olympic judo gold medalist Hidehiko Yoshida when the judoka submitted after a series of brutal leg kicks left him unable to stand.

On September 10, 2006, Filipović won the Open Weight Grand Prix at PRIDE Final Conflict Absolute. In the semi-finals, Filipović knocked out the PRIDE Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva with his trademark left high kick.In the final match, Cro Cop won a third victory over Josh Barnett, who submitted after sustaining an eye injury. With these two overwhelming victories, Filipović became PRIDE's Open-Weight Grand Prix champion, the first widely recognized championship belt he has ever won. In a post-fight interview Mirko stated if he had not won the tournament it would have been his last night fighting. It was also his birthday.

After the OWGP, it was said that a rematch between him and Fedor would be held for New Years Eve, but has been pushed back due to a leg injury.


On Feb 12, 2008, Filipović, announced to visit Japan on his blog.[10] 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.[11] After movement to the new organization, his first opponent in the first event of DREAM which is held on Mar 15, 2008, is not officially announced.

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."[12]

The 2006 Pride Grand Prix champion was vague in answering the question himself, qualifying his response by mentioning his intent to return to the American MMA giant 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," Filipovic 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."[13]

"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."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 Mirko sustaining a minor leg injury. However it was later announced by Mirko himself on his webpage that he would be unable to fight due to his elbow injury worsening and needing surgery. Mirko underwent successful arthorscopic elbow repair in early July, and is now on the path to full recovery.

His next fight will be against Alistair Overeem at DREAM.6 on September 23, 2008


Political career

In November 2003, Filipović ran as a non-party candidate on the Social Democratic Party list in parliamentary elections and attained a seat in the Croatian Parliament. He focused on questions regarding the funding of the police force. He soon withdrew from activity in politics. Filipović later said on national television that he left politics because he didn't have any lobbying power so his efforts were pointless.


Mirko starred in Robert Knjaz show Mjenjačnica (Changing Room) where he changed for a day with a local postman. The postman trained with a police group or anti-terrorist group and he got pranked when one of the trainers pretended to fight with Mirko then go get an AK-47 (filled with blanks) and shoot at everyone.

/ Information partly retrieved from Wikipedia

Eye witness reports / Comments

Post new comment
Sirzake (39 posts)
Posted: 2007-04-12 at: 02:48
A human phenomenan, simply put...
ruderko (89 posts)
Posted: 2007-08-08 at: 02:26
Mirko je legendaaaaa!!!! Cmon mirko beat this guy Cheick Kongo, your the best!
Nejc (136 posts)
Posted: 2007-12-22 at: 10:39
Mirko je legenda, res je ;) hehe
Pozdrav na Hrvaško stran, ruderko! ;D
rene (42 posts)
Posted: 2008-05-12 at: 02:19
GREAT FIGHTER and great kicktech,a shame i cant speak slovenian or croatian because im half dutch half slovenjan hehe
david (6 posts)
Posted: 2008-06-26 at: 06:48
cro cop you are the best striker in this world!! you dont have legs! you have serious wepan kicks!! keep going in this dream!!
david (6 posts)
Posted: 2008-06-30 at: 01:00
cro cop this july 20 kick lebanner ass!!! cause USA and puerto rico we needs to see that!!
Ali (322 posts)
Posted: 2008-11-26 at: 06:53
hope to see Cro Cop back in K-1 it is a still a possibility. Finish your career where it started Mirko!!!
Marko (3 posts)
Posted: 2009-08-10 at: 03:31
mirko rules :P
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