Right, so I initially posted this in the Blog section but since no one goes there anymore I thought I'd post it as a thread since its pretty debatable.
The man many have hailed as the most frightening striker in all of MMA hasn't been so frightening recently, in fact, I haven't shivered in my boots in a while.
Mirko Crocop was touted as devastating and incredible in his striking when he first made the transition to MMA. His opponents just didn't know what to do with him. He had a perfect sprawl, incredibly fast reaction, good TDD and a left leg that many never saw coming, before it was too late. Right Leg Hospital, Left Leg Cemetary was indeed correct at one point.
For a long time he had perfected the art of blind-siding his opponents with his high kicks or left straights and sending them to the mat, but soon many began to study his style and work their way around his phenomenal striking abilities. They began working their take-downs better, keeping him grounded and circling their way around his left kicks. And then to top it off, he made his way into the Octagon, where now opponents would no longer be trapped by the ring corner and circle and back pedal their way around him.
He is also now in an environment where a couple of takedowns and scored points can win you the round, or even the fight.
With this, one wonders, with such a prolific yet dwindling MMA career, would it be wise to move back to K-1?
Now before you call Mirko a coward for giving up after 2 losses, let's look at it like this, sure he's only lost twice so far, but how long can his game plan of stalking and looking for the LHK take him? He has surely lost his fire and doesnt look motivated enough to really grab the HW division by the balls like he could have a year ago. Fighters are getting smarter and smarter and they will surely be watching all of his fights and learning to take advantage of Mirko's weaknesses, so before its too late, and before he loses any more, should he take his trade somewhere where its much easier to apply? This isn't about Mirko dipping as soon as the going got tough, it's just about him making the right career choices.
When Mirko was in K-1 (96-22) he compiled a 16-5 record with 10 KO's. He was right behind Aerts as the man with the most devastating high kick. Also, back when Mirko fought in K-1, the competition was MUCH tougher than today, with the likes of Hoost, Le Banner, Aerts, Bonjasky, Hug, and Hunt to name a few.
But when you look at today's K-1, its a whole different scene. You have an aging Aerts, Le Banner and Bonjasky, and uninterested champ in Schilt, and many relatively new comers in Feitosa, Arrab, Hari, and Choi. Look at the most recent World GP, it was no where near the caliber of those 5-8 years ago.
K-1's talent pool isn't as deep as it once was when Mirko fought, so IMO I don;t think it would be too hard for him to win a couple at the moment.
So when you think about it, wouldn't it just be better for Mirko to go back to what he was really best in? Wouldn't it be better for him to just avoid that whole ground-game business and stick to striking?
Now I'm not 100% sure of how things will turn out, but I for one really enjoyed watching Mirko kick fools heads off and I would really like to see him express his striking abilities some more before he retires, which I believe will be soon if he loses again. And also believe that we won't get to see much more of his striking as the cage makes it difficult, and also because of the amount of high-caliber fighters who would be more than willing to take him down. Mirko has lost his passion for MMA, can he get his love back for K-1 like once before, or should he just pack his bags and retire altogether?
But yeah, Id really like to see Mirko back in it, with the old fire back in him and ready to put dudes to sleep, and I think K-1 would be his best medium.