Croatia’s MMA Legend Keeps Fighting: 43-Year-Old Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Returns to Japan for Rizin World Grand Prix!

Daniela Rogulj

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Cro Cop returns to the Rizin ring tomorrow!

We think you’re all aware of who Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipović is by now, but if you’re not, allow us to refresh your memory. 

Mirko Filipović is a 43-year-old mixed martial artist who hails from Slavonia, and specifically the town of Vinkovci. While the Croat had always been fond of martial arts, his professional career didn’t begin until 1996 – and it started in kickboxing. Having competed in the World Amateur Boxing Championships just one year later, Mirko was simultaneously working as a commando in the Croatian police anti-terrorist unit, thus earning him the name ‘Cro Cop’.

In 2001, Mirko decided to wholly switch his focus to mixed martial arts and even quit his job with the police force a year later. The Croat went on to be the 2006 Pride Open-Weight Grand Prix Champion, the 2012 K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, and the 2016 Rizin Openweight Grand Prix Champion, making him the second fighter in the world to win both MMA and kickboxing championships. 

After he toyed with the idea of leaving MMA to return to kickboxing in 2012, Mirko could not stay away – and at 43-years-old today, retirement does not seem likely to be in his near future. 

After becoming the inaugural Rizin Openweight Grand Prix champion in 2016 (you can read about that here), Mirko has decided to return to the Rizin ring to face Tsuyoshi Kohsaka on December 31, 2017, in a special match of the Grand Prix in the Bantam category. The event will take place at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan, reports on December 30, 2017. 

After the official weighing on the eve of the match which was attended by both Mirko and Kohsaka, both fighters weighed less than 120 kilograms, which is the highest weight class. Specifically, Mirko weighed 110 kilograms, and Kohsaka weighed 101 kilograms. Today’s confrontation passed without any problems, and the gentlemen shook hands – but Cro Cop looks much stronger and more likely than his rival, who is four years older than him.

Let’s remember, Mirko decided to return to the ranks of the Rizin organization by invitation, and apart from this fight, has arranged for another two matches during the following year. In what should be his final farewell, Mirko will work against the winner of the new Rizin tournament scheduled for 2018.

Mirkov’s next opponent, 47-year-old Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, was a participant of last year’s Rizin’s WGP, but lost in the quarterfinals to the Estonian gorilla Baruto Kaito. Cro Cop went on to win the tournament.

Two years ago, Kosaka returned to fighting after almost ten years of downtime but competed in just two matches. He retired in 2006 after a defeat at Pride from Mark Hunt, and as the greatest success in his biography, he will forever be remembered for his controversial victory against Fedor Emelianenko in 2000 when a doctor unjustifiably interrupted the fight

Let’s also not forget to mention that Kohsaka fought for the last time on December 29, 2016, and lost, while Mirko has achieved seven wins in a row.

The battle between Mirko Filipović and Kohsaka will take place on December 31, 2017, with the entire program beginning at 8.00 Croatian time. This specifically means that Cro Cop should appear in the ring around 11.30 in Croatia. 


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