I feel sorry for Cro-Cop, after having seen him get pretty badly beat up by a much bigger and younger Gonzaga (a natural 255 lbs), and now by another young rising star Junior dos Santos, I wish I could give him what I know is good advice: its time to quit or time to really ‘learn’ real grappling skills, or to find some crazy diet so he can lose 15 lbs and fight at 205 lb division.
Mirko Cro-Cop was a great fighter but his greatness relied squarely on his athletic abilities, his quick reflexes and speed coupled with accuracy of his punches, and sadly with age those are the first things to quickly fade away.
A big tough guy can still rely on his size and granite chin even with age, that’s why ‘big’ and ‘tough’ heavy-weight boxers who could take a punch have done ok even well past their prime. A skilled fighter who is built tough has a longer shelf life since his physical strength and his toughness will be intact for a much longer time than any quick speed and reflexes.
Mirko never had a good chin but his speed and quick reflexes saved him, yet now that he’s considerably past his prime, that speed is gone, his kicks are now well telegraphed, not explosive as they once were. His main weapon has been lost.
Even so, I would love for the UFC to give poor old Mirko Cro-Cop a fair fight for once. Yes, you heard it right, I’d like the tables to be turned and Dana to let Mirko finally fight a SMALLER guy than him. So far, the fights he’s been given were against much younger and bigger guys. Take Junior dos Santos, the guy is in his prime, ten years younger than Mirko and 20 lbs heavier, a true heavyweight. Even Cheick Kongo was taller and heavier than him.
True, Mirko did recently beat Mustapha al Turk a 245 pounder but Mustapha just isnt’ a top caliber fighter, James Thompson with his weak chin and lack of stamina wouldn’t be a problem either. James Thompson was winning the fight against Kimbo Slice when he just gassed out, got too tired and then with his glass chin and barely able to hold his hands up he was just a punching bag.
Unfortunately for Mirko, he’s not a true heavyweight, he could fight at 215lbs or maybe even 210lbs. Why don’t they have the best 205 pounders fight Mirko? So what if they are 205 lbs and Mirko is 220lbs, Mirko had to fight guys much bigger than him also. This was not uncommon in the PRIDE days where weight divisions didn’t ’save’ fighters.
In many respects, PRIDE fights were much more entertaining, but perhaps that wasn’t just because stomping and any kicks to the head of a downed opponet were allowed but that many of the fighters were on steroids and who knows what pain killers also because they seem to have been able to take tremendous punishments and keep going. They also looked fiercly ripped, muscles bulging, they looked agitated and barely able to control themselves from jumping at each other’s throats before the referee started the match.
If you look at the MMA weight classes, it is completely unfair for the smaller fighters who barely miss 205 lbs when they have to face hugely built fighters who are naturally at 245 lbs. Even Fedor Emelianenko is a small guy compared to some of these monsters like Brett Rogers and others. Apparently Fedor is scheduled to fight Brett Rogers on Nov. 7 and good luck to him, he’ll need it against that behemoth.
I think Brett Rogers is very dangerous and has a long reach, it seemed to me that Andrei Arlovski walked right in to Brett Rogers’ punch having badly misjudged his reach advantage. Perhaps since at 6′4 Arlovski was only an inch shorter he thought he knew his safe distance but obviously he was wrong. Fedor will need to be careful, to only rush in when he can catch Brett Rogers backpedaling, and not to risk contact with a big fist while charging in like Andrei. He should dance around the ring a bit, do some low leg kicks to soften up the big guy and then take him to the ground. Trying to take him to the ground too early, unless forced to, would drain too much of his energy with such a bigger guy. This was kind of evident in his fight with the Hong-Man Choi giant, he tried to take him down too early and the giant was still fresh and too powerful and too heavy to lift. He definitely does not want to make the same mistake with Brett and be smack on his back.
If you look at boxing, in the recent Mayweather fight, the same thing happened, a bigger taller fighter won. No surprise. In boxing, even though the biggest deal was made about Mayweathers’ weight penalty, since he came in at 146 lbs at weigh-ins, two pounds over the agreed contract, that a five inch reach advantage which Mayweather enjoyed did more to win him the fight, it allows Mayweather to do what he does best, to ‘box’, to go in and out unscathed.
The true weight disadvantage is not in the mere numbers. The night of the fight I think the weight difference was about five pounds or so (would appreciate a link to exact fight night weights) which would be considerable in itself when both athletes are in shape and its extra pounds of muscle not fat. The true weight advantage though is that Mayweather is the ‘naturally’ bigger man and Marquez is just a lightweight trying to fight at welterweight. It would be nice to see Mayweather fight Sugar Shane Mosley or better yet Miguel Cotto. (In fact many have accused Mayweather of having staged the retirement to dodge Cotto because he was afraid he’d lose the fight. Personally I’d like to see Mayweather fight the top contender Paul Williams as well as Mosley and Cotto.) I think of Mayweather as a ‘boxer’ not as a ‘fighter’. Probably if Mayweather fought the same opponents he beat in the ring, if he fought them in the street, there’s a few of them that would have really given him a beating but he’s a smart guy and boxes intelligently to ‘win’, he doesn’t take risks just to put on a good show for the crowd. He gets more money for winning so why should he? But back to the weight advantage…
When Mirko Cro-Cop, a 220 lb fighter, fought Wanderlei Silva the “axe murderer”, Silva even though usually a 205 pound fighter, was heavier than Mirko by about four or five pounds on fight night. Mirko Cro-Cop went on to to win the fight in spectacular fashion, ending it with a KO courtesy of his powerful signature roundhouse kick. The point is, a bigger framed fighter has an advantage even when his smaller framed opponent bulks up to equal weight.
The reason for this has to do with the muscle fibers and joint surface area. A bigger person with larger bones and joints has a greater surface area on joints which can be populated with muscle fibers, the denser the fibers, the more fibers that a muscle is composed of, the stronger the muscle will be. When you work out and ‘bulk up’ you can only enlarge each muscle fiber so that it gets stronger but you can not create new muscle fibers. Therefore a muscle with the same muscle mass but greater number of muscle fibers would generally be stronger than a muscle with fewer but bigger muscle fibers. The bigger framed fighter might have a tougher chin and do more damage with each hit. For those who recall the Fedor versus Mirko fight, it seemed like CroCop was running away in pain from Fedor’s heavier hands and yet Fedor could not overpower Mirko on the ground, wrestling. It’s a shame that Mirko does not have good jiujitsu submission skills and isn’t much of a wrestler either because he has the physical strength to have made great use of such skills just as Randy Couture has done with his wrestling.
Mirko CroCop should be fighting guys his own size, like Quinton Rampage Jackson who could easily meet him at 220 lbs, I think I heard they might be friends though going back to PRIDE so not sure if that would happen. Now Randy Couture is a legend of course, the guy has not only fought guys in their prime when he’s as old as their fathers, but he’s won, but Randy Couture the natural, well, he’s a ‘natural’ wrestler and his physical strength is still there so when he gets a hold of someone he always has a chance to win. If only he had a bit tougher chin….oh well can’t have it all. Mirko might be too old to become a pro at jiu-jitsu or wrestling but I’d recommend it for him highly if he can discipline himself to study intensely with a wrestler like Randy and a jiu-jitsu of a Minotauro Nogueira’s caliber.
It would be nice to see Mirko fight Wanderlei in a rematch to give the axe murderer a chance at redemption while still showing he can be a great challenge with guys closer to his own size. Perhaps there should be a 225 lb weight division which would be perfect for Mirko and Fedor could probably make that too since he’s always around 230 lbs.
Then we can let all these 250 to 350 lbs monsters fight each other in Super Heavy Weight. That way when a small 220 pounder goes and fights a 250+ monster he can get the recognition he deserves for jumping out of his weight class, and chance to win a belt in two weight classes. (Besides the regular weigh-ins I’d like to see the fighters get weighed for all to see right before they step into the ring.)
A similar post made to matt hughes’ website forum apparently was deleted. As for his future, he’s a very likeable guy but he’s getting too old also, he’s a slow puncher and unfortunately though not the worst chin doesn’t have a great chin either, he’ll need to rely on his muscles and wrestle, learn to submit or just lock them up and ground and pound to win. GSP, Georges Rush Saint Pierre, now this guy is like a real life version of Jean Claude Van Damme. GSP not only looks like Jean Claude Van Damme, he even sounds like the Belgian muscles from brussels too with that French Quebec accent.
On an aside, I’d love to see Mr. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) to do some western sequel to the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly playing Clint Eastwood’s role, Hugh Jackman has an uncanny resemblance to Clint Eastwood which really becomes apparent when he’s playing the Wolverine role with his bulging forehead vein and sideburns, but I digress…
Well Mirko, good luck to you, hopefully someone will enlighten you on what to do should you chose to continue in the career as a fighter. I’m sure no respect will be lost if the decision is its time to let the younger kids have at it but everyone will be thrilled to see a comeback CroCop with new ground skills and/or fighting in a better suited weight class with guys of the same size frame.
(guess nothing new, as I wrote in “There’s No Justice Above 205″ at http://thefulle.com/newstuff/theres-no-justice-above-205-the-ufc-badly-needs-a-new-225-230lbs-weight-division.htm )
Don’t get me wrong I’d love to see big guys fight small guys, but with proper recognition and respect. (A 205 lbs guy should be paid more if he beats a 230 pound fighter and he should have chance to walk around with TWO championship belts in two different weight classes if he’s that good. Perhaps this only worked in Japan, not sure if US sanctioning bodies would allow for jumping to higher weight class without putting on the extra weight. Which is strange in that in heavyweight division fighters are allowed to fight guys at over 25 lbs of muscle disadvantage.)
So what happened to Heavyweight Boxing? It has disappeared off the map? Are the Russians still dominating the heavyweight so there’s no more talk of it in the US? Well perhaps that’s true (says I after a quick glance at IBO Heavyweight rankings right now…) Seems like the top four fighters are from Ukraine (KLITSCHKO brothers at the top positions, Wladimir and Vitali) and Nikolai and Ruslan from Russia…don’t ask me what this has to do with good ‘ol Mirko CroCop.