Time to say goodbye.
After a decade long career that spanned 40 professional mixed martial arts match-ups, Mirko Filipovic is hanging up the four-ounce gloves once and for all. He made his retirement official following his technical knockout loss to Roy Nelson on the main card of UFC 137 just last night (Oct. 29, 2011) in Las Vegas.
Here are his final words inside the Octagon:
"I wanted to say goodbye with a victory, but Roy was just the better fighter tonight. The UFC has been so good to me over the years, and it is hard to leave this company and this sport. Even though I didn't do as well in the UFC as the rest of my career, I feel like I did everything that I could to have an overall successful career."
Indeed, the Croatian struggled in his first and second runs with the UFC but he will always be remembered for his legendary run through Pride. His importance to the history of this young sport cannot be understated. He didn't invent the head kick; he just made it so famous that every one after it seems like a tribute.
"Right kick hospital, left kick cemetery."
Those immortal words will live on forever, even if "Cro Cop" cannot. Some may remember him for his failures in the UFC but that would be selling him far too short. His reach will expand far beyond a few knockout losses late in his career. An entire generation of budding mixed martial artists found their influence and inspiration in Filipovic's beautiful destruction.
Pride never die.