INDIANAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 25: Mirko Cro Cop reacts after being knocked out by Frank Mir during their UFC heavyweight bout at Conseco Fieldhouse on September 25 2010 in Indianapolis Indiana. (Photo by Al Bello/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Any mixed martial arts (MMA) fan still chanting "PRIDE never die!" probably skipped the UFC 128: "Shogun vs. Jones" pay-per-view last Saturday night (March 19) in Newark, NJ.
While the big story was Jon Jones' destruction of former light heavyweight champion (and PRIDE superstar) Mauricio Rua, another legend from the days of Japanese chop-socky received what is likely to be the final nail in the coffin of his storied career.
I'm talking of course about Mirko Filipovic, who is five years removed from his reign of terror in the now defunct PRIDE organization. And while he left on a high note, winning the 2006 open weight grand prix with wins over Wanderlei Silva and Josh Barnett, his stateside run left a lot to be desired.
And speaking of desire, it doesn't sound like "Cro Cop" has much left after Brendan Schaub beat it out of him in "Brick City" this past weekend.
From the Croat (via Jutarnji.hr, courtesy of Tomislav Gacina):
"I feel like somebody stole something from me. I am disappointed by the result, but congratulations to Schaub and thanks to my fans for their support. It's clear that in this sport without hunger, wish and ambition to win there is no success, and its also clear that there is no more left of those in me. He surprised me with that strike, everything was same like against Frank Mir. It seemed to me like I was better. What am I saying? If I was better, I would have won!"
Following his March 19 loss to "The Hybrid," UFC President Dana White informed media members that "Cro Cop" was finished inside the Octagon.
The Schaub defeat was his second straight and the icing on his eight-sided cake, which was baked with a mediocre (at best) 4-5 record, was that both losses came by way of brutal knockout.
Live by the sword, die by the sword.
A lot of fans questioned his desire to fight as far back as UFC 99, after he hightailed it back to Croatia following his win over Mustapha Al-Turk in June 2009.
Filipovic was expected to finish his career under the DREAM banner until Zuffa boss Lorenzo Fertitta flew overseas to make the former member of Croatian Parliament an offer "he couldn't refuse."
And he didn't refuse it, but was the "hunger, wish and ambition" part of the deal? Or something that died with PRIDE back in 2007?
Only Cro Cop knows for sure.
For a career retrospective on Filipovic and a list of his greatest knockouts and fights click here.