Cro Cop on his beginnings, first trainings in his garage and birth of his nickname
After announcing the end of his career, Mirko Filipović, like many before him who have made the same move, recalled his early beginnings and the reasons why he decided to devote his life to martial arts – sport in which he will become a living legend.
“As a boy I was hyperactive, and already when I was 10-11 years, I asked my dad to get me some weights. The first he made out of some old railway tracks, and by the age of 12 I was already doing pull-ups and other bodyweight exercises. At the time, I loved to run, and I competed in it,” Mirko recalled his childhood and first encounters with sports. Then he described the place where he used as his first gym.
“It was a half garage, half pigsty, because on the other side of the wall there really were pigs. It was also cold and drafty because it was open on one side. There were snowdrifts here and then but I did not mind. However, my dad used to come round 11 at night to warn me it was enough after four hours of bag punching and weight lifting.”
Cro Cop also recalled his professional debut at the age of 21 when he shocked France’s Jerome Le Banner, as well as what happened afterwards. After he made name in kickboxing, Mirko also did amateur boxing and scored 48 wins in 56 matches. Later he decided to dedicate himself to MMA.
Talking about this period, Cro Cop recalled winning Pride Grand Prix (2006), which he dedicated to his late father Žarko. Talking about his glory days, Mirko also revealed how he got his legendary nickname that was proposed by his former manager Orsat Zovko.
“Orsat was my manager when I came back to Japan in 1999. He then helped a lot with my visual identity. He made a video with my matches, but also a catalog which presented me to the Japanese: My nickname Cro Cop was also born in a conversation with him. We had to find me a nickname because all the fighters had it. He suggested Cro Cop and I immediately liked it,” said Cro Cop to Večernji list daily.