Originally Posted by M2
He looks like a fighter who's taken too much punishment.
Kongo never caught him with a haymaker, but a few times you could see that shots to the head were shutting down Cro Cop's circuitry. You see this happen with boxers too. Basically what happens is the primary brain cells that control parts of his motor function are gone and it's not too hard to rattle the backup system.
I didn't see Cro Cop's fights right before Gonzaga, but fighters don't come back from knockouts like the Gonzaga inflicted upon him
I doubt dropping to light heavyweight would help. Rampage, Chuck, Tito, Evans, Griffin, Alexander, Jardine - there's a lot of guys who can rattle your cage at that level.
On a separate note, why doesn't the UFC have top 10 rankings?
You absolutely have missed Mirko at his very best if you haven't seen him before Gonzaga. If you meant the literal subsequent fights before Gonzaga, that was perhaps Mirko at his best... the Open Weight Grand Prix championship in PRIDE, where he decimated Ikuhisa "The Punk" Minowa, Olympic gold medalist judoka Hidehiko Yoshida, Wanderlei Silva and Josh Barnett to win the tourney in his four 2006 fights, and his first UFC fight in January of this year, he looked pretty good against Eddie Sanchez (albeit he is not nearly at the level of the guys he beat in the PRIDE Grand Prix, or Gonzaga or Kongo for that matter).
You are correct though that, most of the time, at least, fighters don't come back from knockouts like that, and that's across the board.... boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, MMA, whatever. The aforementioned Wanderlei Silva is another recent example of an MMA idol who just hasn't been the same (ironically, it was Cro Cop who delivered that devastating KO to Silva). Guys just have a hard time being the same following that, and it truly does mess up their reflexes.
I mentioned this in the last post, but I don't think weight cutting has anything to do with this for this reason. But, if Cro Cop WAS at his best, he should absolutely destroy everyone in M2's list of LHWs in the UFC with the exception of Rampage and Liddell. Not to say he wouldn't win those fights, but I don't think it'd be a one-sided brutalization as it would to Griffin, Jardine, etc.
About the non-existent top-ten rankings... I dunno? Good question. A lot of MMA journalism sites rank them, but UFC doesn't list their own contenders, at least in this day and age of its large popularity surge.