One of the fascinating things about the decline of Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic -- who went from being one of the most feared fighters in Pride to a mediocre 2-3 in the UFC -- has been that many of his fellow professional mixed martial artists have suggested that Cro Cop's problems are mental, not physical.
Fedor Emelianenko said recently that there's something wrong with Cro Cop's "mental attitude" and added that, "There is something that broke in him. ... He wants to get out of here so quickly as possible, out of the ring, out of the cage, with any result of the fight."
Now the UFC's Kenny Florian has offered similar comments.
Appearing in his role as a commentator on ESPN's MMA Live, Florian opined that Cro Cop is likely to lose his UFC 110 fight to Ben Rothwell because he no longer has the heart of a fighter.
"I'm going to go with Rothwell," Florian said. "I think Cro Cop's heart isn't in it. Very talented fighter, but I think Rothwell is going to wear him down and probably finish him in the second round."
I think there's a lot of truth to what Fedor and Florian are saying here: In his recent fights, especially the last one against Junior dos Santos, Cro Cop has looked to me like a man who lacked the competitive fire that once made him among the sport's truly elite fighters.