Earlier today it was reported that heavyweight legend Mirko Filipovic was leaning towards a return to Mixed Martial Arts after retiring from the sport in late 2011. Since hanging up his gloves “Cro Cop” has kept himself busy by competing as a kickboxer, picking up a pair of wins in the past year with designs on a K-1 World Grand Prix title in the coming months.
While the idea of a comeback to MMA is always nice when attached to a competitor with the Croatian’s credentials, in the case of Filipovic he’s better off sticking with pure stand-up against other guys from yesteryear like Ray Sefo than coming back to MMA where he’s likely to further tarnish his already fading legacy.
During his final run in the UFC, Filipovic not only lost his last three fights but was knocked out in the trio of tilts. Even his victory over Pat Barry came after being blasted early on and essentially surviving due to Barry’s admiration blinding him from the job at hand. The reality is Filipovic hasn’t won a significant scrap in six years. His triumphs have come against relative nobodies and the few legitimate opponents he’s faced have flattened him. He’s also 37 so his skills as a striker are in decline rather than on the rise, unless of course he’s been talking to Chael Sonnen’s doctor in recent months.
Sure, Filipovic can sign with ONE FC or Super Fight League and potentially bring home a win or two against guys who are past their primes or never quite had the talent to excel to an elite level. Heck, Tim Sylvia or Andrei Arlovski would even make for interesting opponents and possibly even beatable ones. But, at the end of the day, he’ll still be taking out guys who mean nothing in today’s landscape, yet imagine the blow to his reputation if he loses to a guy like James Thompson or Todd Duffee. The risk is simply not worth the reward.
Ultimately, there’s no good reason for Filipovic to come back. He has nothing to prove and all it will do little more than remind the world he may be better than average but that’s about it. A man who was once one of the Top 3 heavyweights in MMA doesn’t need to stoop to that sort of status.
PHOTO CREDIT – FEG