UFC 128: Enter "Cro Cop". Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic is a legend in every sense of the word. Everything about him is legendary.
He is one of the most exciting fighters to ever grace combat sports and one of the best heavyweights in the history of MMA.
Critics have said he is too small for the division and a shell of his former self in recent years, and yet he still competes at the highest level.
At UFC 128 Mirko faces rising star and dangerous striker Brendan Schaub.
If Mirko cannot pull out the victory, almost everyone and their mother will be calling for his retirement.
Do not count this warrior out yet though. There has never been anyone like him and there will never be anyone like him in the future.
These are the top five reasons there will never be another "Cro Cop".
K-1 kickboxing is the ultimate proving ground for striking.
With the exception of Alistair Overeem, there is no one even close to the level of accomplishments Mirko Filipovic has had in both professional kickboxing and MMA.
From 1996 until 2003, Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic was one of the top K-1 kickboxers in the world
The volatile nature of kickboxing leads elite kickboxers to exchange wins and losses even more frequently than MMA fighters. Mirko amassed an impressive 16-7 record fighting the elite of the world.
His fights are epic encounters against a "who's who" of professional kickboxers.
Filipovic has claimed victory over truly legendary fighters such as Jérôme Le Banner, Remy Bonjasky, and Peter Aerts, just to name a few...
Excluding his considerable amateur career, Cro Cop has fought in 61 total professional kickboxing and MMA fights.
Mirko's nickname, "Cro Cop", is short for "Croation Cop" and comes from his involvment in Croatian Law Enforcement.
Not just a normal law enforcer, Filipovic was a commander in Croatia's elite special forces and tactics anti-terrorist unit, ATJ Lučko.
Pretty special, but he was also a member of Croation Parliment from 2003-2007.
In America, it would be like a senator being a S.W.A.T. team member on the side and then going on to become an MMA Champion.
The above photo was later revealed to be a set-up scenario, but it is still a humorous representation of Mirko's fearsome role in the development of a young sport.
Filipovic entered MMA when there was hardly any elite strikers, and no one on his level.
That point was hammered home when he took out Heath Herring and Igor Vovchanchyn back to back; men who were feared strikers in their own right.
Always a striker first, Cro Cop made the impact he did because he also diligently worked his ground game with world champion Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter, Fabricio Werdum.
The hard work and training paid off as Filipovic has only been submitted once in his career, by famed submission artist and MMA legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
That is a picture of Mirko Cro Cop high-kicking seven foot tall Franjo Arapovic in training.
With incredible speed, power, and flexibility, Mirko Filipovic has cemented himself as the greatest kicker in the history of MMA.
Cro Cop has used kicks to finish 11 different opponents in professional MMA fights. His famous quote is: "Right leg hospital; left leg cemetery".
A head kick specialist, Mirko almost single handedly made the head-kick knockout seem practically common place.
He could finish with any type of strike, including punches and knees, but Mirko Cro Cop's left high kick in particular is probably the single most devastating striking technique in the history of the sport.
I have been a fan of MMA for a long long time, but watching Mirko "Cro Cop" highlights is what officially got me addicted to the sport.
He is simply one of the most dangerous men to ever compete in the sport.
Anderson Silva and Fedor Emelianenko are the other men with "Cro Cop" who get talked about as having an aura about them that causes their opponents to mentally be defeated before the match starts.
With Mirko, it was not just that he seemed like an unstoppable force, but also that he could seriously hurt his opponent every time he stepped into the ring.
Thankfully, Youtube has documented the path of destruction that Cro Cop has blazed through MMA.
There are hundreds of highlights dedicated to the man.
As fellow MMA fans, hopefully you can agree.....when you need a dose of adrenaline inducing unstoppable human force, it's easy to spend a day with youtube and remember that there are still real life superheroes out there.