We’re in no position to tell Cro Cop when to retire. In fact, we’re all guilty of standing in the line of never-ending fandom for Croatian MMA legend right alongside Pat Barry. Even when there’s a promotion that names their event ‘Final Fight: Cro Cop vs. Sefo’ – even then…It’s no indication that Cro Cop is actually retiring. In Zagreb, Croatia, ‘Final Fight’ is a misleading phrase that essentially forces people to buy a ticket for their event to sell out a massive arena. Those Croatians are tricky. They should play poker with my friend Nick. They could teach him how to bluff well enough so that hundreds of thousands of people believe you’ve got something better than Jack high while going all in.
The truth is, nobody knows if Cro Cop has already retired like he suggested he would after his ‘Final Fight’ against Ray Sefo last weekend. While the short answer to most of the interview questions about his next fight should end in something like ‘There is no next fight, I’m retired’ – Cro Cop seems to be taking offers from various organizations and talking about them in this interview with Fighters Only:
Fighters Only: Which brings us to my next question – what’s next? Can you tell us anything about these options?
Cro Cop: Well I’m talking about K-1… I don’t want to say too much but I am interested. Most important thing is health and I feel perfect now, I feel perfect and I needed this fight [with Sefo] to swim out of the bad mood, of the jinx, to swim out of everything.
I feel good and today I am enjoying my life. I was very depressed after my last fight in the UFC. The most important thing in life is health. If you have no health you cannot train, mentally you are closed off. You come to training in pain, or you know you cannot use your arm or kick hard because of some injury to the knee. It frustrates. But right now I am feeling very good.
As I told many times, but people got it wrong – each fight could be the last one for me. Injuries are serious in my sport. To tell you the truth, injuries are more of a threat in training and in some wild sparring than in the fight itself. We have crazy trainings and crazy sparring, so many things could happen.
If I get poked to the eye one more time like I did before the Mir fight, most probably I wouldn’t be able to fight any more. I was poked in the eye and the eye was bleeding – blood was coming from the eye itself. Serious injury; it had no effect on the fight but one more injury like that I will have to go for eye surgery and probably have a problem with it until the end of my life.
And that is from training. I never had an injury like that in my fights. Same with my knee, my foot. I hurt my knee training, not in the fight.
And one more thing – I am sick and tired of explaining to reporters – not you, not you! – but people who are calling me, journalists who I respect, and I am glad they are taking interest in me. But I don’t want to say I will fight ten more fights or one more fight. Maybe I will do fifteen more fights or I will do none… You will be informed about everything.
Right now I have some offers and I am thinking carefully about what to do. Right now I am still on vacation and I am back in training on Monday. So lets wait and see; I don’t want to keep discussing speculation on the next fight, the future. You know what I mean John – lets just wait and see what the future will bring. Right now I am ready and I have an offer for May, July and September. We will see which offer I take and which offers I will not take.
Fighters Only: This is just offers for kickboxing?
Cro Cop: Yes K-1… but I have some MMA offers as well. We will see. I don’t want to say too much! All I can see is I will see; I don’t want to talk too much.
While nothing is official, Cro Cop refuses to acknowledge that ‘Final Fight: Cro Cop vs. Sefo’ was his final fight. It’s more-or-less inevitable that in a few months from now we’ll be up early on a Sunday morning with our fingers crossed watching Mirko enter the ring again. Mirko, as much as I feel you have nothing left to prove in K-1 or MMA, I wish I knew how to quit you.