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Global Training Report



The Man who beat Mario Sperry, Alexandre Café, and Saulo Ribeiro

Yuuki Kondo



No. 40, Feb. 22, 2001


Translated by Roberto Pedreira


[Kondo Yuuki was just another unheralded Pancrase fighter until he shocked the world by demolishing one of the best two or three jiu-jitsu fighters in all of Brazil, Saulo Ribeiro, in 22 seconds at Colosseum 2000 (5/30/00). To prove that victory was no fluke, he followed up with a victory over rising superstar Alexandre Café in UFC 27 (9/22/00). His turn to taste defeat came in UFC 29 (12/16/00), when, despite a promising start, he was crushed by Tito Ortiz. Now embarking on his comeback, Kondo Yuuki defeated Ishikawa Eiji by Doctor Stop TKO at 4:16 of Round 3 at Pancrase PROOF 2001, February 4.]

Question: It seemed like an exceptionally tough fight. What was your impression? 

Kondo: I feel good.  I won. But our real abilities were almost identical.  Any fighter can beat me [there is no one who cannot be beaten by someone].  Ishikawa was more persistent than I expected.  I was thinking that I could finish him  easily. In my last fight, with Tito [Ortiz],  my lack of stubbornness [shibutosa] was exposed. I felt keenly that this was my weak point and I was determined to overcome it in the Ishikawa fight. I was satisfied that I could do it. I never gave up and kept pushing. Finally, I was able to win like that [3rd Rd. TKO ] I can't offer any excuses to the fans who might have expected me to defeat him in more effortlessly, but I myself think it was a good fight. And then, I want to prove that I can fight like that, fighting stubbornly and win for sure.  Now, at this stage in my career, this is the kind of fight I want to fight. 

Question: Did you feel your knee attacks to Ishikawa's face were working? 

Kondo: Towards the end, yes. Maybe, he was bleeding from his nose from my last kick, when he was wagging his head from side to side to avoid my knee, but finally I reached my target. That was the only time. At least, I could fight without losing my balance. 

Question: Did you feel in any danger at any point? 

Kondo: During the first half of the fight.  At the time Ishikawa endured my ankle and knee bar, I got tired. I was wiped out. Then Ishikawa landed a series of good punches from above that hurt. It was that. It landed in the area of my heart. Ishikawa isn't so tough, it might seem to people who were watching the fight. But for me, he was tough.

Question: What is your goal from now on?

Kondo: Well, I can tell you because I won today, but Pancrase is standing on the edge of a cliff  as Mr. Takahashi said before the fight. Compared to other MMA groups, Pancrase is losing its power. Everybody thinks so, I think. Mr. Funaki is gone [retired after defeat by Rickson Gracie]. I want to establish a new Pancrase.  For that reason, I had to show fantastic evidence of my true capabilities. I hope for more chances to show what I can do, both in Pancrase and other events, like UFC or Pride. Please give me a chance. That's all I have to say. I want to kick ass in as many other kinds of MMA events as possible while wearing the Pancrase logo on my back.

Note: Takahashi Yoshiki, who defeated Wallid Ismail in UFC 12 and is rumored to be Tito's next opponent.

Question: Revenge against Tito?

Kondo: That's right. That too, for sure. Getting in UFC in the USA, I want to show what Kondo Yuuki can do [refers to himself by full name] and how effective Pancrase can be. The theme of this year's Pancrase was PROOF, you know [using the English word, followed by the Japanese phrase in parentheses].  This is what I understand by the slogan (PROOF). There is also Pride, and there is DEEP 2001. For me, Pride is the Big Time.

Question: Are there fighters you'd like to meet in Pride? 

Kondo: After all, that would be Mr. Sakuraba, from Pride, now wouldn't it? After Sakuraba,  I want to fight a Gracie in Pride. Renzo, Royce, bring them on.  I want a shot at them [tatakatte mitai desu].

Note:  Sakuraba replies that "boku wa nihonjin to yaru tsumori wa nai desu kara..."[I have no intention to fight a Japanese person] (Quoted in SRSDX No. 41, 3/8/2001). 

Question: Have you discussed it with the top management at Pancrase? 

Kondo: Not yet (laughs). Well, Pride is wide open [translator's note: "Pride toka zenhooi desu yo ne"--which seems to imply that Kondo believes that Pride does not discriminate against fighters who have contracts with other organizations; and in another interview with Kondo (SRSDX no. 41) it is commented that "Pancrase wa ima zenhooi gaikoo to iu koto de iroiro na tokoro ni dete imasu kedo, which means: Pancrase is now engaged in what is called "all directions diplomacy, coming out in various places", and implies that Pancrase fighters are fighting in events sponsored by other organizations] . The president of Pancrase understands it. Besides, if  I speak  like this to the media people gathering here today, he might be moved into action. I have the feeling that he will have gotten my message.  

Question: Do you mind if we take that as a formal declaration of your intention to fight in Pride?

Kondo: Go ahead. The president will be surprised. 

Question: What about a fight with Tamura? 

Note: Tamura Kiyoshi, who defeated Renzo in World Mega battle Open Tournament King of Kings. 

Kondo: Of course, of course I want to. I plan to fight anyone I can this year.

Question: Do you have a priority? 

Kondo: No. For me there are no big fights and no small fights. Today I gave it my all [sei ippai]. I didn't get hurt, but even if I had, I would have wanted to continue to fight. Such a desperate effort is necessary for Pancrase to get back its popularity.


(c) 2001, Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved.