“Duke” Roufus protege Pat Barry is about to face a man who was once known as one of the most fearsome competitors in the PRIDE Fighting Championships: 2006 PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix winner Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic. “Cro Cop” made his name by sending multiple opponents into absolute oblivion with his trademark head kicks and for taking on some of the most dangerous opponents in the world and handing them losses. Many fighters like Barry with under ten MMA fights (to “Cro Cop'”s almost forty) might think twice about taking on a veteran fighter such as “Cro Cop” but, as he recently told Fighters Only, Barry considers himself lucky to get the chance to take on one of his heroes.
“I want to challenge myself to get in the ring with ‘Cro Cop’ period,” he said. “Ten years ago when I was wathcing K-1, before I even started, there were five guys on a list of guys I never want to fight. Mike Tyson, Sagat from Streetfighter, Lord Shredder from Ninja Turtles, Ernesto Hoost and Mirko ‘Cro Cop'”.
“Now I am fighting ‘Cro Cop.’ Do I scratch his name off the list? I don’t know. He is one of my favorite fighters of all time and now I have actually done something well enough to be put in the same cage as he is, that’s a testament to how far I have come – either that or they are trying to get rid of me!”
After a string of disappointing performances under the UFC banner, many have written Filipovic off as the dangerous competitor that he once was. Barry is not so quick to count “Cro Cop” out and even believes that the former Lucko Anti-Terrorist Unit officer played a direct role in the evolution of Mixed Martial Arts; helping to breed the fighters that have handed him losses.
“’Cro Cop’ is still ‘Cro Cop’,” said Barry. “You say that name anywhere on planet Earth and someone has heard it. A lot of people say he has lost it, he is outdated or on the way down – ‘Cro Cop’ hasn’t lost anything.
“He has forced the rest of us to get better. He is still the same ‘Cro Cop’ he always was, it’s just that everybody had the choice to either get better or go back to school and get another job. He has made evolution of the sport happen… This dude is a legend in the sport and will never be forgotten for all time. I am going to challenge myself against him. It’s crazy.”
Despite the enormous amount of respect that Barry holds for “Cro Cop,” he is supremely confident in his own ability and believes wholeheartedly that he will walk away with the win Saturday night.
“I am totally confident in my ability in my heart, in my physical skill and training regimen,” said Barry. “I am a true believer that the only person that can beat me is me. If the right Pat Barry wakes up that morning, I honestly believe I can’t be beaten. I know anything is possible but I just have a lot of faith in myself.”
So confident is Barry that he offers a prediction that he believes MMA gamblers should strongly take into consideration.
“I would definitely bet on me if I had to make a wager on Pat Barry vs. Mirko CroCop,” he said. “Absolutely, it’s not getting out of round one.”
“Cro Cop” and Barry will square off in the co-main event of UFC 115 this weekend in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada at the General Motors Place. The card will be headlined by former UFC champions Rich “Ace” Franklin and Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell competing against one another in a light heavyweight bout.