I think he needs to call it in. He has had a fantastic run in these last 11 years, but I think he no longer has the will to kill.
He gave a lacklustre performance at best last night, which imo should have been a draw, due to Kongo's repeated low blows and John not penalising Kongo, but that wasn't the Cro Cop we used to know.
Right throughout his K-1 and Pride Career, he was on fire, espescially once he got to Pride. He was a man on a mission, he knew that sooner or later he would come up against Fedor, but until that point he just had to destroy everyone in his path, which he did, to almost everyone. Even when Randleman KO'd him, 3 weeks later he was in the ring again, fighting at a Bushido event to get back on track. He then went on an 8 fight run, until finally being stopped by Fedor. Beating the Russian and being the Pride champ was all he cared about.
Up until the dissolution of Pride earlier this year, Cro Cop still firmly believed he would stand in the ring with Fedor again. Even when he first signed with UFC, he said that he would fight his 6 fights very quickly and then fight Fedor in Pride's New Years Eve show. Unfortunately Pride went under, and that was the moment that Cro Cop knew that stopped caring.
Sure in 2006 he was a monster, he tore through the 2006 OWGP, and annihilated Wanderlei like no one has done before, or since, or probably ever again. He was angry, Wanderlei was talking trash, and Cro Cop planned to retire if he lost. And to top it off, it was his birthday. So he had plenty of incentive to get in that ring and start KO'ing people, and he did it. But even the accolade of the Pride 2006 OWGP winner status wasn't enough, and he still wanted the Fedor rematch.
Fastforward to the Gabriel Gonzaga fight, the first fight where Cro Cop looked like he was just turning up to get his cash and go home. He ended up getting taken down and GnP'd by Gonzaga, this is Cro Cop, who has fought, sprawled away from, and beaten guys like Barnett, Coleman and Waterman. He never made any silly mistakes against those guys, but he threw a mid kick, which wasn't exactly stealthy, and Gonzaga grabbed it and took him down.
The stand up that followed was equally dire, with Cro Cop getting KO'd via a head kick, the irony was painful, but what was worse was the fact that Cro Cop didn't stop the kick. It was a huge, slow, ugly kick that only has power because of Gonzaga's weight. The Filipovic we used to know would have punished someone for trying a kick like that, but unfortunately, against GG, and Kongo last night, it just looks like Cro Cop has lost the fire and striking savy that helped him get wins over guys like Le Banner, Aerts, Musashi, Hunt etc, the best strikers in the world. The decline in Cro Cop's skill and more importantly, will is evident when he puts out crap performances like the one he gave against Kongo.
I'm just at a loss to see why it all went wrong last night. It's like this amazing training squad that Cro Cop put together was for nothing. For everything that he could and should have learned about the clinch (from Bonjasky) and facing an aggressive opponent (Yvel) he seemed to have nothing new. He didn't attack much from the clinch, infact his clinch seems non-existent these days, even though he used it to beat Peter Aerts back in the day, who is a dedicated Muay Thai fighter, so Mirko can't have been that bad at it, but now its just gone. The only thing he tried that was out of the ordinary was an axe kick, but he has been able to do them for years, and it missed anyway.
The fact that there was nothing new to game however, shouldn't have been a problem. Since 2001, he has done the same thing in every fight, and few have ever been able to stop it. In 2007, I don't think Cro Cop's losses as a case of his opponent's figuring his style out either; the methods of beating Cro Cop seem obvious, and they have done for years, because he is a stand up fighter, with a decent sprawl but almost no ground ability. When Cro Cop wanted to, he could beat anyone, except Fedor, and getting caught by Nogueira in a fight he was winning, but when Cro Cop wanted to win he was almost unstoppable.
Every day Fedor bobbles about not signing is another day that Mirko gives less and less of a damn about getting into the cage again. I don't think Mirko cares about the UFC HW belt, or beating Randy, he only wanted to beat the best. He wanted Fedor and he wanted the Pride HW belt. He will never get it now. Pride is gone and I think Cro Cop will be too before Fedor ever signs. Besides, since Cro Cop has been so indifferent about fighting for months now, if Fedor ever did sign, Cro Cop would have some serious catching up to do to get his skills back on track to have a chance of winning the rematch. He could win though, he has it in him. Cro Cop's problem is that his mind has shut off his almost unlimited potential. There is no doubt in my mind that Cro Cop has the tools to beat anyone in the UFC HW right now, maybe even Fedor in a rematch, but I guess we will never know, because he just doesn't have the passion anymore.
Cro Cop is my hero, so this is a very sad time for me. What I learned from the example Cro Cop led by was that by utilising your personal skills, and exploiting what you are good at, you can beat them at their own game, and this is such a good lesson, its something everyone should know and live by. Cro Cop never was an MMA fighter, he is and was a kickboxer of fantastic calibre, who, for the most part, tooled MMA fighters under their rules.
It's a tough time for Cro Cop fans indeed, but if he called it quits tomorrow, I'd still remember him as one of the greatest fighters to have ever lived.