Let me start this by saying that I'm young, still in college, and fairly new to this whole MMA scene. My first UFC event I ever saw live was at a family friends house - UFC 39, where Ricco Rodriguez made Randy Couture quit. But I wouldn't say I was a true fan until Liddell-Ortiz 2. Since then I've been a very consistent fan of the UFC, not getting every PPV or anything, but definitely paying good attention.
What does ANY of this have to do with Cro Cop???
Well, it was not until recently that I educated myself to the legitimacy of other promotions, PRIDE included. I knew about PRIDE when I was first getting into the UFC but Dana White had led me to believe that ALL the best fighters were in the UFC. That's clearly not true. The only Cro Cop I had seen was UFC Cro Cop, but I had heard all the stories of PRIDE Cro Cop; most importantly, that he had won the PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix in 2006.
Well, earlier today, I came across something on Mania that led me back to a comment I had made on another FanPost, calling Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. I realized that that was a somewhat uneducated comment on my part. Yes I had heard that numerous times, that he's one of the greatest of all time, but why? I did some investigating, and with his fight with Pat Barry upcoming in about a month, I figured it was a solid time for this post.
In the OWGP, Cro Cop started with Minowaman. Journeyman. Who is Minowaman's best win? Gilbert Yvel? The artist formerly known as Butterbean?? A wayyyyyyyyy past his prime Bob Sapp??? Now I dont know the weigh in stats, but from what I've learned about Minowaman, he was probably at least a weight class or two apart from Cro Cop at fight time. The next fight was against Hidehiko Yoshida, who has a less impressive track record than Minowaman. His best win was against Mark Hunt in his, Hunt's, first MMA fight.
Now the next two wins are much better, and are made all the more impressive with the fact that they both took place in the same night. But granted, Wanderlei is also probably a weight class away from Cro Cop. I have nothing to say about the Barnett victory; Josh Barnett was very good at the time, and to get him to submit to strikes in your second fight of the night is truly remarkable.
Fedor was not in the Grand Prix, and Cro Cop has lost to him. Minotauro was taken out by Barnett, and Cro Cop has lost to him as well. Cro Cop is no doubt talented, but, to me, it seems like he got the benefit of matchups in the Grand Prix. While Wanderlei and Barnett are unquestionably formidable opponents, Silva is smaller and it just seems that Cro Cop has Barnetts number. Barnett has 5 career losses, 3 of them to Filipovic.
I put the question to all of you out there, as I trust many of your opinions on MMA more than my own. I am not disputing the fact that Cro Cop has some good wins under his belt and has some devastating kickboxing, even still. But I think the notion that he is one of the best heavyweights of all time is a bit overstated. A very good one, yes, one of the best, not exactly. That could just be me; in fact, I am quite sure that some of you will disagree with me quite vehemently. I'd just like to get everyone elses opinion on the matter and if anyone can change my mind on the matter, God bless you hah. Discuss away...