Fighters Only Magazine has a quote from everyone’s favorite former anti-terrorist squad member where he drops this bomb:
I believe that during 2009 I will fight three more times for Dream, then I hope for a farewell fight in the UFC.
Yes, I know Cro Cop is getting a bit older. I know his recent performances haven’t exactly been spectacular. I know time catches up with these athletes and eventually they have to call it quits. But this is Cro Cop we’re talking about — surely he’ll be able to knock out fighters until he’s old enough for a 10% discount on haircuts.
What needs to be stated here is that this is a comment coming from a high level athlete who has not performed up to his own personal expectations in recent outings. On top of that, he is suffering from severe knee damage and the flu. While Cro Cop might be part robot, he is part human as well — which means he suffers from the same affliction that we all do: the full range of human emotions (Except empathy; Cro Cop has mercy for no one).
This is a guy whose going through a bit of a rough patch and it is not surprising that he’s talking about retirement. Mixed martial arts is a metaphor for life in general: with so many different factors to take into consideration, both are entirely unpredictable. You can make an educated guess as to what is likely to happen under a given set of circumstances but the circumstances rarely stay the same.
If Cro Cop goes out and has a few more underwhelming performances, it’s entirely likely that what he says will become true. But, on the other hand, if he sends some guys to the hospital in DREAM and then KOs someone like Couture or Liddell upon his return to the UFC, I just don’t see Mirko Cro Cop calling it quits. This is the same guy who said he was going to retire if he hadn’t won the 2006 PRIDE OWGP — meaning he is a proud man who will only continue to do this so far as he is capable of doing it well.
In short, I expect (hope?) to see Cro Cop stick around a bit longer should he return to form. Then again, the billions of kuna he makes from his new video game (which is being haled as the best game since 30 something investment banker) might cause him to call it quits even earlier.