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Global Training Report



"Victory doesnft come from nothing."


Interview with

Mirko CroCop

Kakutogi Tsushin No. 329

July. 23, 2003

Translation by Yoko Kondo


Q: "Are you a K-1 fighter or a Pride fighter?"

Mirko: "I am fighter, period"


Q: Your victory over Heath Hearing was a perfect victory, wasn't it? Considering that it was your first fight under Pride rules and your opponent is one of the four best fighters, I expected that it would be a considerably dangerous debut.

Mirko: I didnft think Heath was such a dangerous opponent. What made you think so anyway?

Q: It seems that your past opponents didnft have a finish pattern with a joint-lock technique except Sakuraba. However, Mr. Hearing can use striking technique and he has a strong technique of joint lock to finish with.

Mirko: Regarding his striking, nothing bothered me at all because I am a professional striker. But my bad point on it was that I got a low kick two times.

Q: Despite such a splendid victory, is there still more you have to review?

Mirko: Of course. Review and study, and a hard training are indispensable to be a perfect fighter.

Q: I see. How was your study about his ground technique?

Mirko: First, I assumed that he wouldnft be able to get me on the ground. As far as tackling igoes, Fujita is better and faster. And Mike, who is a teacher of MMA, lost to Overeem due to too much tension, but he is really good at tackling. There is no doubt that training with him turned out to be useful in the Hearing fight. Heathfs tackles were not as good as Fujitafs and Mikefs.

Q: That is, you did a training for crushing the tackle over and over again before you are taken into the ground, didnft you?

Mirko: I had reinforced a basic movement to stop tackles by moving to left and right, and a sprawling training. Nullifying tackles is a key to make use of my strong point, striking. I heard that Heath has been training striking in Holland, but I feel that it blunts his natural characteristics instead. A short cut to a constant victory is to know yourself and analyze the ability of your opponent.

Q: You are like a samurai who revived in this modern time!

Mirko: I canft survive without studying how to defeat my enemy all the time. Besides there will be no progress either. Oh! Excuse me. (He seems to have been besieged by a lot of reporters, so a light meal is carried to Mirko here)

Q: Is it a time for meal?

Mirko: Yes. Would you mind if I answer your questions while eating a meal?

Q: Not at all. But are you going to eat only rice and fried chicken breast without bone and skin?

Mirko: Ifm paying a careful attention to the menu too. I am studying under a physical trainer of a soccer team which is a representative of Croatia, and he makes a menu for me. I have to build up a physical condition to enable my body to move organically by taking in amino acid, zinc, and magnesium, etc. It is a natural thing to do for the first-class athlete though.

Q: And, you use only salt and paper, donft you?

Mirko: I donft use sauce at all. Ifll never eat yakiniku (grilled beef), if it is not well-done. And I ate a beef tongue for the first time, but it was not so delicious. (laugh)

Q: Well, you can start eating please, and letfs back to the story of the Hearing fight.

Mirko: OK.

Q: I heard that it was you who chose Hearing as your opponent.

Mirko: In fact, I wanted to fight with Fedor. But I had no experience fighting under the 100% Pride rule before, so I wanted to ascertain my position in Pride by fighting with Hearing.

Q: Your positon?

Mirko: Heath had fought with Nogueira and Fedor. So I can have a clear view of how far I could go in a fight with Nogueira or Fedor by fighting with Heath.

Q: Does it means he was in a position like a litmus test paper? But what surprised me in the fight was your striking. It looked a little dull in the fight with Vanderlei Silva, maybe because you were afraid of his ground technique. However, in the fight with Hearing, you displayed your quick and decisive striking technique.

Mirko: I had a little hesitation in the fight with Vanderlei, because I had no experience yet and I thought that I needed to focus on defense on the ground. But in the fight with Fujita, I could establish some attack patterns after being taken into the ground such as dropping a knee-kick on the head. With my own style established, then all I have to do is just to fight with my favorite striking in standing. So I think it was manifested in the fight this time.

Q: What kind of training have you been doing specifically? I think there are some readers who want to be like you.

Mirko: I train with  jiu-jitsu, wrestling, and striking sparring partners, one after another. There are four partners on occasions, and seven gathered at most.

Q: Are you sparring with your partners of three different sports in one day?

Mirko: Sometimes I do the menu on a week-basis, and sometimes do all the menu in one day. As for a sparring partner, I chose one depending on my opponent of the next fight. In the fight with Bob [Sapp], I went to Ukraine to spar with Vitali Krichiko who is the first rank in the world of WBA boxing.

Q: You have been investing time and money like that, havenft you?

Mirko: As I am a professional fighter, it is natural to make an effort as much as possible.

Q: Victory doesnft come from nothing. Everything was well-prepared, wasnft it?

Mirko: Before the fight with Heath, I studied him by watching videos so many times until they wore out. I thought he would jump and land me a knee-kick at the same time with the gong, so I was preparing a countermeasure for it. As the fight between Don Frye and Mark Coleman lasted long, I repeatedly trained the movement to stop the jump and knee-kick coming from my partner even while I was waiting for my turn.  Heath didnft use it in the fight after all, but everything was well-prepared.

Q: Could you explain your left middle kick which you finished with? (A video of the fight has just arrived, so we start watching it.)

Mirko: It is as you saw. To tell the truth, I donft like to talk about my opponent or the fight which was already finished, because I already showed the result in the ring.

Q: It seems you got injured on your right arm.

Mirko: When Heath came to hold my arm, I pulled it out by force so that a ligament seems to have been overstretched. It just became swollen a little bit, so everything will be OK after a rest for a while.

Q: You defeated Hearing even under such a condition, so Ifm eager to watch your fight with Fedor next.

Mirko: The day will come sometime for sure. I have to be careful about his punch attack on the ground though.

Q: From a view-point of a professional striker, is his striking scary?

Mirko: Ifm not scared of it. He showed the limit of his ability after taking a right hook from Fujita. But he has, like me, his own style of striking that he lands punches after controlling his opponent on the ground. If I am trapped in it, things will be difficult.

Q: Do you think that you will have an enough chance to win if you can defend only his punch attack on the ground?

Mirko: In the fight with Fujita, Fedor limits  in the striking in standing were revealed. However, he made a counterattack and finished Fujita with choke-sleeper. While he exposed his weak point, he showed his potentiality to break a deadlock. I must not overlook it. I feel as I have been improving myself, but he has been improving himself as well.

Q: Mr. Yoshida expressed his entry to the middle-class tournament. There is a possibility to fight with him, isnft it?

Mirko: I have respect for Yoshida. He is an Olympic champion of judo, and I respect his glorious fighting history that he became the top of the world by winning all by ippon in the middle of the pressure from the country to win. I have some feeling that I want to fight with a man like him, if possible.

Q: Fedor, Yoshida, and Nogueira---There are still more fighters left for you until you become known as the strongest.

Mirko: I want to fight with Mike Tyson too. In fact, I got an offer to fight with David Tua (the second rank in the world of WBA).

Q: Is it a boxing fight?

Mirko: I donft care even if itfs a boxing fight. Nothing has been decided yet, though.

Q: What are you who is trying to challenge all kinds of fighting? Are you a K-1 fighter or a Pride fighter?

Mirko: I am a fighter, period.









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