K-1 Fighter Profile: Mirko Filipović
Nickname: Cro Cop
Date of birth: September 10, 1974
Place of birth: Vinkovci, Croatia
Fighting out of: Zagreb, Croatia
Height: 6 ft 2 in
Weight: 230 lb
Years active: 12 (1996-present)
By knockout: 12
By knockout: 16
By submission: 4
No contests: 1
Mirko Filipović, often billed as Mirko Cro Cop, is a Croatian law enforcement officer turned kickboxer and mixed martial artist (MMA). He is also a former member (2003 - 2007) of Croatian Parliament. His nickname, short for "Croatian Cop", comes from his membership in the most elite Croatian police's Anti-Terrorist Unit ATJ Lučko.
Filipović has been successful in both K-1 and PRIDE Fighting Championships. On September 10, 2006, he won the PRIDE 2006 Open Weight Grand Prix, and in 2007 began fighting in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Filipović is famous for his left high kicks, with which he has knocked out many of his opponents.
Filipović started his professional career in 1996 as a kickboxer, following in the footsteps of his compatriot Branko Cikatić. Before turning pro Filipović was said to have accumulated an amateur boxing record of 40-5 (31 KO's). At the time, Filipović was working as a commando in the Croatian police anti-terrorist unit Alpha, which earned him his nickname "Cro Cop". He also fought several times early in his career under the nickname "Tigar"
In 1996, at the age of 21, Filipović entered the K-1 World 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 dropped 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 defeating highly regarded K-1 fighter Mike Bernardo. Filipović 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 beat then-undefeated giant, "The Beast" Bob Sapp in 86 seconds, breaking Sapp's orbital bone with a left punch. 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 were the major factors in this loss. Filipović actually entered the ring limping on one leg due to injuries sustained in previous bouts. Bernardo repeatedly attacked Filipović's damaged leg and rendered him 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 defeated by Canadian fighter Michael McDonald in the first round. Shortly thereafter, he began a transition to PRIDE, a Japanese mixed martial arts organization. He fought four more K-1 matches, however, winning each.
IKBF World Heavyweight Full Contact Champion
K-1 World Grand Prix 1999 Finalist
K-1 World Grand Prix 2000 in Fukuoka Finalist
PRIDE 2006 Open weight Grand Prix champion
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