Since making the move to the UFC, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (26-7-2) has found himself in the unfortunate category of PRIDE FC veterans who haven’t been able to translate success in Japan to success in the Octagon. His performance against Australian Anthony Perosh (10-6) at “UFC 110: Nogueira Vs. Velasquez” did nothing to remove him from that category.
Perosh, normally a light heavyweight, took the fight against heavyweight Mirko “Cro Cop” on two days notice when Filipovic’s original opponent, Ben Rothwell, dropped out of the fight due to a stomach illness. Even though “Cro Cop” has lost much of his luster he was still expected to dismantle Perosh easily due to the Australian’s ill-preparedness. Such was not the case; it took “Cro Cop” a plodding two rounds to stop the fight (in between rounds, due to a cut).
Mirko spoke with Fighter’s Only Magazine about the fight. In response to those, including UFC president Dana White, who were puzzled as to why he didn’t finish Perosh, “Cro Cop” had this to say: “I just couldn’t do that to him when he was so bloody. I am very sorry that I had to hurt Perosh. I tried to fight with as much consideration for him as I could. I even avoided the ground because I am 7, 8 kilos heavier than he is.”
Filipovic lauded his opponent’s heart and toughness in accepting the fight; and added fuel to a rumor that had Randy Couture and Quinton Jackson turning down the last minute bout offer before Perosh accepted.
“I admire Perosh for accepting the fight,” he said. “There were much better fighters there who turned it down but I understand why; they did not have time to prepare.”
It would be commendable if indeed he was trying to take it easy on Perosh; in truth, he looked like he has in the rest of his UFC fights: a step behind. It looks as though he will take Ben Rothwell next and, while he may not be a title contender, he is certainly not a fighter to take it easy on. We will have to wait until that fight to see if the highly unlikely prospect of a late-career resurgence is in the cards for “Cro Cop”.