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News, Quote, Opinion: Hurting Legends

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INDIANAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 25:  Mirko Cro Cop reacts after being knocked out by Frank Mir during their UFC heavyweight bout at Conseco Fieldhouse on Sept. 25 in Indianapolis.  (Photo by Al Bello/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 25: Mirko Cro Cop reacts after being knocked out by Frank Mir during their UFC heavyweight bout at Conseco Fieldhouse on Sept. 25 in Indianapolis. (Photo by Al Bello/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Welcome to the latest edition of "News, Quote, Opinion." On today edition, we talk about the injuries sustained by two all-time great heavyweight fighters: First, Mirko Cro Cop, who was knocked out by Frank Mir on Saturday at UFC 119, and second, the man who he replaced in that fight, former PRIDE heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

For the record, as I stated passionately on the post-UFC 115 edition of Lights Out Radio (43 minute mark), I want, nay, demand a rematch between these two, but that's another column for another time.

So let's get on with it!

Cro Cop sick, injured heading into lackluster UFC 119 fight

News: UFC 119 headliner Mirko Cro Cop claims he was injured heading into his UFC 119 bout. And no, he's not referring to the fabled eye injury, either. The 2006 PRIDE Open-Weight Grand Prix champion says not only was he injured, he was sick, as well, losing a little more than 14 pounds while in Indianapolis.

Quote: "I had many injuries, leg and back. I was sick, lost 6.5 kg while I was in Indianapolis. I could not push any harder. It turns out I was in better shape than (Frank Mir). Mir did not want dynamic fight. I was told not to push it till the third round. I was going to spend last two minutes attacking. I did not see the knee. I will definitely not fight again this year. I have options for 2 more fights, knowing myself I will do both."

Opinion: Well, this certainly is believable. Cro Cop weighed in at 235 for his UFC 115 fight with Pat Barry and was only 227 for this fight with Mir. But with all the money he was guaranteed, it's no surprise he didn't pull out, regardless of the severity of the injuries. Unfortunately for the fans, all this showed in his performance, which was one of the dullest efforts of his long career. With the injuries and surgeries mounting, it's likely that Cro Cop's fight with Barry will be remembered as his last great effort.

Injuries mounting for Nogueira, as well

News: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira underwent surgery for a torn ACL recently, MMAWeekly.com reports. That, combined with upcoming hip surgery, means the former UFC interim heavyweight champion will be sidelined the remainder of 2010 and into 2011.

Quotes: "I tore my ACL so I had the surgery and it's going to take maybe five to six months to heal," Nogueira said.

"I think realistically from the time he has surgery, they're saying until he puts his foot in the ring it will probably be six months. I'm assuming late spring, early summer," Nogueira's manager Ed Soares said.

Opinion: The time continues to tick down on Nogueira's career. These setbacks mean that by the time Soares projects him to be back in the cage, it'll be around 16 months between fights. In his last fight, he was knocked out in the first round by Cain Velasquez and has recently shown the effects of all the legendary battles and beatings he's taken. Usually, I'm not a fan of long layoffs for fighters, but even though he's only off due to injury, it cannot possibly be a bad thing for Nogueira to have an extended layoff at this point. Any extra time to recuperate is a good thing.

SBN coverage of UFC 119: Mir vs. Cro Cop