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Interviews with 

Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira, Gary Goodridge, 

Ryan Gracie, 

and others after

Pride 15

Gong Kakutogi Plus Vol. 14, Sep. 2001

Translated by Kondo Yoko

 

Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira

"I'm really happy to win this time. When I enter a fight, I always think about how quickly can I win. So today, I did good. Goodridge is a strong guy with a big punch. But I believed in my Jiu-Jitsu. And I can punch too, and my condition was good. Goodridge's punches are heavy and he is a dangerous man. I respected those points. Next, I want to fight Mark Coleman in the September Pride. I am a professional so I will fight anyone the promoter says, but to tell the truth, honestly speaking, I want Coleman for sure next time, in Pride rather than Rings. I wouldn't do if I didn't have confidence in winning.  I have one more fight left on my Pride contract and I want Coleman for that fight. After that, my agent will take care of everything. But honestly speaking, I want to fight in Pride. I am a fighter and a professional, so rather than fight with who I want to fight with, I want to fight with whoever the promoter selects. I don't know if Coleman really injured his knee or not. Only he knows. But he is a professional fighter too, so the next time he comes, I want him to come with 100 percent condition. [Interviewer asks what he said to Mario Sperry after the fight]. I said, "Didn't I win the way I said I would win?" Thanks to Mr. Inoki I could stand in the Pride ring. I really appreciate him. And if K-1 fighters enter Pride, I will make them all tap." 

 

Gary "Big Daddy" Goodridge

"I feel bad and very disappointed about the result. Nogueira used his favorite technique very well. And he avoided what I had in store for him. That is the main reason for the result. He is good at ne-waza. He has the best joint-locking techniques of anyone I have fought with so far.  I was offered this fight recently so I didn't have enough time to train--only about two weeks. I trained with Tom Erickson and Mark Coleman at their camp. I trained hard there, but the result didn't turn out well. I feel sorry for disappointing my fans. I will make up for it by winning my next fight in a spectacular fashion [tsugi wa ii kachikata de kaisho shite owabi shitai to omou]".   

Ishizawa

Note: Ishizawa showed up for the interview wearing  a mask, in his pro-wrestling guise of "Kashin", saying that Ishizawa [in other words, himself] had left, and to direct any questions to Ishizawa's coach Bob Cook. Bob's comment was this: "Everything went as planned. We thought it would be a long fight, but it was good to be able to finish the fight with knees (laughs). We trained for about one month in San Jose [California] at the American Kickboxing Academy, together with Frank Shamrock, B.J. Penn, and Brian Johnston. Ishizawa was throwing a lot of knees near the end of the fight so I figured some of them would connect." [Interviewer comments that Ryan's injury was not in the place where the knees were landing] . Bob Cook replies "Oh really? It wasn't? I don't know about that. I couldn't see it" (laughs). 

 

Ryan Gracie

"During the first take-down [Ishizawa took Ryan down], I tried to reverse him, and that moment my left rib broke. If that accident hadn't happened, I would have won. I want another shot at Ishizawa."

 Well, Ryan didn't have much to say. But Shoji Akira and Takahashi Yoshiki (both of whom defeated Ryan's arch-nemesis Wallid Ismael in previous events) offer their analyses of Ishizawa's victory over Ryan.

Shoji Akira

"I think Ishizawa won by doing what he does best. He surpassed Ryan in many ways. Ishizawa's take-down technique is one of the best in Japan. I trained with Ishizawa once at Takada dojo He took me down many times. He is very good at it. Today he got to the side so fast too. Even if the fight had kept going, it would have finished with something like joint-lock. "

Takahashi Yoshiki

"Ishizawa was perfect today. I think everything went well as planned. His opponent did nothing effectively. Ishizawa succeeded in all the tackles he attempted, and easily avoided Ryan's strikes [kick attempts from his back]. Ishizawa was never in any danger.  It was all Ishizawa from the beginning to the end. In that sense, I think it was perfect.."

Wallid Ismael

Wallid directs his first comment to Ryan, saying "Ryan, you are a coward! "[Ryan, omae wa hikyomono da.] It appears that Wallid and Ryan had signed to fight, but Ryan backed out [according to Wallid]. "Ryan attacked me from behind at a party, but I threw him down and he was knocked out. I am the strongest fighter representing Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and a disciple of the venerable Carlson Gracie." [Interviewer asks about Oyama]. "Oyama is a very strong fighter. He couldn't do his own style of fight. But he did his best as long as he could, but finally he went to sleep."  

GTR Note: This wasn't the first time Ryan attacked Wallid. For a first hand account of another attack, see Robson.

Oyama

"I got forced to play my opponent's game. I hate when that happens. I emphasized my training on stand up and didn't work much on ne-waza. I was reminded again that Pride is the Big Leagues [sugoi]. I have to take another look at myself and start from the beginning. Without doing that, I can't fight here anymore. The next time I enter the Pride ring, I want my technique to be almost perfect. I will make an effort to strengthen my fighting spirit and then I want to try again." [Later, in the interview room, Oyama dejectedly said, "jibun no subete ga, gijutsu mo tairyoku mo, seishin mo tarinai na to omoimashita" [I think I am deficient in everything--technique, strength, and spirit"].

Ebeneezer Braga

"I had a cold and a 40 degrees fever when I came to Japan but the Pride people encouraged me to fight anyway. I also had to lose weight for the fight. Under these conditions, I can't believe myself that I was able to fight for 20 minutes. I wanted to knock Matsui out but he was tough. I'm learning a lot in both Pride and K-1." [Ebeneezer recently fought hard punching southpaw Jerome LeBanner in K-1, and got annihilated]. "Whatever event I fight in, I try to give 100 percent. I want to fight in both events as possible as I can."

Matsui

"He fought in a way that he would never lose. That's all. I was trapped in it. It seems that he was waiting for me to shoot. I talked with Mr. Kosaka in the waiting room. He told me that many foreign fighters fight like that. 'You were suckered in', he said. 'If you want to fight at the top level, you'll have to break through that wall', he told me. Judging from Ebeneezer's past fights, I expected him to attack me more aggressively. Maybe this was his strategy."

Heath Herring

"Kerr is a very strong fighter so I feel good about winning. I was going for an armlock in the beginning, because I practiced a lot of different attacks, and I wanted to show that I could do it and I wanted to finish as quickly as possible.  But I thought if the fight went a long time Kerr would gas. So things went as I expected. I wanted to put on a good show, so when the action got stalled in the second round, I appealed to the ref to stand us up." [note: ref did stand them up and then Heath slammed a shin into Mark's face as he was going for a tackle.]

 

Mark Kerr

"There are many reasons for defeat but Herring is young and hungry and he did what he had to do. I  knew Herring was good before the fight and I wanted to do better than I did, but I couldn't. He impressed me.  Not only him but a lot of the young generation fighters are developing fast. Anyway, I'm really disappointed because I have now lost twice in a row this year."

Note: Comments from Igor Vovchanchin and Satake were not available.

 

For previous interviews on GTR with these and other great fighters, click on interviews.

 

(c) 2001, Yoko Kondo. All rights reserved.