Ex-Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren swapped football for MMA this weekend – but was forced to tap out by cage-fighting legend Mirko Cro Cop.
But to his credit, the Premier League winner managed to go 50 seconds before he was beaten by a brutal arm bar from the former anti-terrorist special-forces cop.
Lovren, now captain of Zenit St Petersburg, didn’t have a game this weekend.
So he decided to engage in some unusual training as he prepared for Croatia’s upcoming World Cup Qualifiers.
The 31-year-old took part in a session with former UFC star Mirko Filipovic – known as Mirko Cro Cop because of his past work tackling terrorists.
And the friendly spar saw Lovren thrown to the ground before eventually having to tap out against his compatriot – with 1980s hit the Lambada bizarrely playing in the background.
Lovren shared footage of the match-up on Instagram, writing: “Had this morning a short training session against @crocop1009.
“What a beast this man still is. Was a big pleasure Mirko. Thank you.”
Filipovic, 46, retired from mixed martial arts in 2019 after winning 38 of his 52 fights with the UFC, Pride, Bellator and Rizin promotions.
He also won 26 of his 34 fights as a kick-boxer and won the K-1 Grand Prix World Championship in 2012.
Before turning pro in MMA and kick-boxing, Filipovic had also 48 of his 56 fights as an amateur boxer.
A man of many talents, he also served as a Croatian MP from 2003 to 2008.
Lovren left Liverpool for Zenit last summer having won the Premier League and Champions League with Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Although he wasn’t a first-choice centre-half for Klopp, the Reds’ failure to replace him led to problems when Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and later Joel Matip were all sidelined out by long-term injury problems.
Liverpool are now facing a battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League, with Klopp’s side five points behind fourth place heading into the international break.
Asked earlier this season whether Liverpool’s defensive injury crisis had cost them the Premier League title, Lovren said: “Yeah, that’s one of the reasons, that’s for sure.
“It’s not the same compared to having Van Dijk, Joe Gomez or Matip there.
“It will be tough this season but there are still a lot of games in front of them. I think they have a lot to prove, nothing is over, but for the top four everything is possible.”