Global Training Report
who beat Mario Sperry, Alexandre Café, and Saulo Ribeiro
No. 40, Feb. 22,
[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.
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
Kondo: Go ahead. The
president will be surprised.
Question: What about
a fight with Tamura?
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.