Translated by Yoko Kondo
Q: Pele, from the same
school as you, fought in Seikendo on June 11. What was your impression
about the fight.
that it was his first fight in Japan, it was a good fight. He displayed
his technique as well as he could despite some confusions about the
rules. Once he gets used to the Pride rules, he will show you a better
Q: Are there many
strikers like you and Pele in Brazil?
Vanderlei: Yes, there
are, because Muay Thai is more popular than jiu-jitsu in Curitiba where
Q: Striking was at a
disadvantage in UFC a long time ago. All the kick boxers and karate
fighters were defeated by ground technique.
because karate fighters did training only karate and jiu-jitsu fighters
did only jiu-jitsu at that time. However, the situation is different
now. It might be difficult to win unless both striking and ground
technique are mastered.
Q: Were you taking
countermeasures against ground technique along with the training of Muay
Thai, aiming at vale tudo from the beginning?
Vanderlei: I did only
Muay Thai in the beginning. I started learning jiu-jitsu around the time
I started vale tudo.
Q: Does that training
mainly focus on how to defend when you are taken down to the ground?
Vanderlei: I am
learning jiu-jitsu seriously. I am not doing it only for defense. I have
a purple belt from Barra Gracie in Curitiba and am aiming at a developed
type of vale tudo.
Q: But you like to win
by KO, donft you?
Vanderlei: Yes, I
Q: It is said that
Vovchanchynfs fighting style is the ideal style for a striker in valke
tudos. What do you think about it?
Vanderlei: I donft
think itfs good to judge a fighter by his fighting style. He might win
consistently now. Winning doesnft depend only on style [translatorfs
note: the Japanese translation of Mr. Silvasfs remark was gsore
wa, sono toki ni yotteh, which in this context more or less means,
gsometimes you win and sometimes you loseh]. If I fight with him, I
might win. Things change by time and chance. So, it is OK to mention his
name as a good fighter, but it sounds a little strange to me to say his
fighting style is good.
Q: Whatfs your
opinion of Vovchanchyn as a fighter?
Vanderlei: He is a
strong puncher and a good fighter.
Q: Mr. Sayama, a
representative of Seikendo, said that a fighter who can beat up the
opponent before he is taken down to the ground, could remain as a strong
fighter in the total kakutougi from now on. What do you think?
Vanderlei: I agree.
Q: Then, is it the
style you are aiming at?
Vanderlei: I want to be
complete: Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu, tackle, and defense against tackle.
Q: So the style you are
trying to perfect is exactly the same as what Mr. Sayama said.
Vanderlei: It is good
if I can finish it with ground technique, but I prefer to win by KO.
Q: What would you do if
you fought with a Gracie?
Vanderlei: I will do
it, because I am always aiming at the top. And if there is a chance, I
am eager to fight with Sakuraba. I will win without any doubt and I
promise to send him to the hospital [laughing]. I am very honored to
participate in such a big tournament like Pride, and it was my ambition.
Now that my dream came true, my next dream is to fight with Sakuraba.
Q: Have you ever fought
with a jiu-jitsu fighter before?
Vanderlei: I fought one
time with an American jiu-jitsu fighter, Todd Medina, in Brazil on
August 12 before I came to Japan (I won by KO by knee in 38 seconds). I
have never fought with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter.
Q: Who is your ideal
Vanderlei: I respect
Pele. If I had to mention one fighter who I most respect, it would be
Pele. Hefs really an incredible fighter.
Q: It is said in Japan
that Guy Mezger, your opponent this time, sticks to defense only without
initiating any attacks, so that his fights are very boring. Have you
ever heard about it?
Vanderlei: Donf t
worry. I like to attack. It will be a very interesting fight.
Q: You mean you will
make a move even if he is in defense.
[laughing]. It will be interesting.
[Translatorfs note: The fight took place on August
27, 2000. True to his word, Vanderlei attacked relentlessly and
KOed Guy, who, to his credit, elected to swap big shots with Vanderlei.
Let's just say it wasn't Guy's night.]
(c) 2000, Yoko Kondo,
all rights reserved.