Story by Anthony Springer Jr.
Photo by Josh Hedges / Zuffa / Getty
At 37, Mirko Cro Cop is far from the man he used to be.
At the height of his career, he was an enigma. He said little, preferring to let his fist and feet do the talking in the ring. His aura ballooned to epic proportions after sending opponents to dream land with a high kick reminiscent of and as consistent as a pro-wrestlers finishing maneuver.
A lot has changed since Cro Cop was one of MMA’s most feared heavyweights.
Today, he’s much more jovial. And ahead of what is likely his final bout of his career, a heavyweight tilt against Roy “Big Country” Nelson at UFC 137, you get a since that the Croatian Cop is enjoying what may be his final ride.
Since entering the UFC, he’s posted an underwhelming 4-5 record, including two knockout losses in his last two outings. He says he feels good, but win or lose, this may be the end of an era.
Cro Cop still has his health, but that’s not a reason to hang on, he says.
“There is 37 or 38 reasons, that’s exactly how old I am,” he responded when asked why he may hang up the gloves regardless of Saturday’s outcome.
“It doesn’t mean that I cannot fight anymore, my stamina and conditioning is maybe the best I’ve ever had. I’m 240 (pounds), I’m not fat. I’ve trained hard for this fight, six months, and of course I could keep fighting, but every man comes to the point where he asks himself do I need it anymore?”
If this is Cro Cop’s last hurrah, it’d be nice to see him go out with one of his trademark knockout kicks.
“Right leg, hospital, left leg, cemetery,” for old times’ sake. Here’s hoping for a flash of the old Cro Cop tomorrow night.
“I’ll do my best to prove it,” he promised fans.
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For more on UFC 137 or the UFC, visit www.UFC.com