He can’t, and now it’s a question of what’s next.
A move down to light heavyweight for one last chance at recapturing glory? Finish out his career in Japan with a few wins over inferior opponents as a final farewell to the legions of fans who adore him unconditionally? Maybe even a move back to where it all started for Mirko in K-1? Or perhaps it’s just time to hang it up for good?
I don’t know and I’m not about to tell Cro Cop what he should do, but based on this interview with Jutarnji.hr it sounds like retirement might be a very real possibility. Translation via Robert K of BigOddsMike.com.
Cro Cop: I Didn’t Have The Hunger
I fucked up and that’s all there is to it. Maybe the ones who i’ve said that I’m done are right. Obviously i can’t break my mental block in the octagon. Besides, I’ve been training like a spartan for 20 years now, my body is worn out. The years cought up to me, I’ve been worn out.
WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED IN THE THIRD ROUND BEFORE THE STOPPAGE?
Dos Santos punched me in the eye and tore my eye-lid. Blood and sweat completely blurred my vision. I was standing there like a blind man. At one moment i confused my opponent and the referee.
DID YOU STOP THE FIGHT?
No, I didn’t stop it and I didn’t ask the judge to stop it. But it wasn’t an early stoppage, he won that fight and would have won it by decision.
Simply put he is younger, more hungry, more aggressive. He wanted to win a lot more.
HIS FACE SHOWS YOU DID SOME DAMAGE?
Yeah, I landed a few good shots and cut above his eye but all together I failed big time.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LEGENDARY LHK?
The mat was slippery like glass. I almost fell down trying to do the LHK. But I’m not looking for an alibi. This was not the performance the public would pay for.
SO, WHAT HAPPENED IN DALLAS, WHAT HELD YOU BACK?
I don’t feel the hunger anymore. I started playing it safe, I’m not ready to take risks. I would like to thank everybody that supported me and stood by me and everyone who helped me to prepare for this fight.
THIS SOUNDS LIKE A GOODBYE?
I’ve been living a military life for 20 years now. Getting up at 6 am and having physically challenging task up to 8pm. I want a normal life. I’m entering a cage and thinking about fishing in Privlaka. You can’t win that way.
WAS THIS YOUR LAST FIGHT?
Maybe I shold’ve quit after i won OWGP.
As a fan of Mirko’s, I really want to believe he’s just too small for the division and a move down to 205 would reignite his career, but to be honest, I just don’t think that’s very realistic for a variety of reasons. The biggest one being his lack of hunger as he talks about above.
Emotions are running high now, so I wouldn’t take this to mean he’s definitely retiring, but it certainly looks like that’s the direction he’s leaning in.
Image via UFC.com