GTR Archives 2000-2020











Global Training Report


Interview with 

Vanderlei Silva

From Gong Kakutougi Plus 


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.

Vanderlei: Considering 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 fight.

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 I live.

Q: Striking was at a disadvantage in UFC a long time ago. All the kick boxers and karate fighters were defeated by ground technique.

Vanderlei: Itfs 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 prefer KO.

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 fighter?

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.

Vanderlei: Yes [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.