No. 47, March 8, 2001
Translated by Roberto Pedreira
Question: This is your first interview for our
magazine. To begin, could you first tell us something personal about
yourself? Such as, what is the composition of your family?
Vanderlei: I have two parents, an older brother, and a younger sister.
Question: Do you live with them now? Or do you live
Vanderlei: Now I live with my family.
Question: In your childhood, were you a "bad
boy" [abarenbo 暴れん坊] like you are now when you enter
the ring? (laugh).
Vanderlei: Childhood? This might seem hard to believe but in my
childhood I had an introspective inward shy [uchiki] type of
personality. (laugh). But from the time I began to do kakutogi, I
don't know why but, I began to become an outgoing extroverted [gaikoteki]
Question: Huh? (amazed). So your aggressiveness stems
from that time, doesn't it? Well, then, what were your best and
worst subjects in high school?
Vanderlei: My best subject was mathematics. My worst was chemistry.
Question: Speaking of mathematics, that's Sakuraba's
best subject too. (laughs) What hobbies were you absorbed in when you
were a kid?
Vanderlei: I was absorbed in soccer when I was a kid. But not anymore,
you know. But I became a kind of a "striker" anyway. (laughs)
[Vanderlei seems to have made a pun using the English word striker,
which has two meanings].
Question: And what is your hobby now?
Vanderlei: My hobby is reading.
Question: Huh? Reading? I don't want to be rude, but
somehow your image is not that of someone who enjoys reading. (laughs).
Now, what is the way you spend your time the most enjoyably?
Vanderlei: That is easy to say. Fighting is how I spend my time
Question: Ah, when I hear that kind of response I
feel relieved (laugh). Then, what do you do to relax?
Vanderlei: That's easy. I spend the time with my girlfriend. When I am
with her is when I feel most at ease. (laugh)
Question: I wonder......anyway, never mind. Could you
describe your weekly routine for us?
Vanderlei: My basic routine is the same every day. I wake up at 9:00,
and train from about 10 to 12:30. Then I go home and have lunch and take
a rest. In the afternoon I go back to the gym for hard training. From
3:00 to 4:00 I teach Muay Thai. After that, from 4:00 to 5:30 I do my
own training. then I go back home again for dinner and to relax a
little. The last training for the day is from 7 to 8. From 9 to 10
I am teaching again.
Question: It seems that everything you do has some
connection with kakutogi every day, doesn't it? When you aren't
training, do you listen to music or something like that? Who are the
artists you like?
Vanderlei: I like Reggae. The artist I like is Bob Marley.
Question: Excuse me, Sorry to ask so many
Vanderlei: No, that's ok (laugh).
Question: You have the image of being very aggressive
and violent during your fights. Is it in your character to be like that
Vanderlei: Ordinarily, no, I'm not like that. Only in the ring..
(laugh) I'm a calm type of person who makes friends easily and I'm
a friendly guy.
Question: How do your friends describe you?
Vanderlei: People around me say I'm a humble [kenkyo]
and charming [suteki] guy. (laugh) They understand well
that it is only when I am in the ring [that I am (or seem) aggressive
and violent]. They are all my fans. (laugh)
Question: Humble and charming! Well, when
did you first get interested in kakutogi and what kind of kakutogi first
Vanderlei: I started Muay Thai when I had 13 years. The reason why was
because I thought Muay Thai was the strongest and the most perfect.
Question: Oh I see. In your opinion, who is the
strongest fighter in the MMA scene now?
Vanderlei: The strongest fighter is Pelé.
The reason is that his style of fighting is the best.
Question: Pelé? That was
an unexpected answer. Speaking of Brazil, jiu-jitsu is famous, but what
do you think about Gracie Jiu-Jitsu?
Vanderlei: I think it is the best jiu-jitsu in the world.
Question: Is that so? Well, then what is your
impression about Rickson? In Japan there are many fighters who want to
fight with Rickson. How about you?
Vanderlei: Rickson? Rickson will never agree to fight me. But if Rickson
did agree to fight me, I would knock him out.
Question: So no matter who you fight, even Rickson,
you will knock him out, right?
Vanderlei: That's right.
Question: Speaking of Gracies, Royce and Renzo and
Ryan have also been in Pride. How about fighting with them?
Vanderlei: I will fight any of them. My tactics will be the same for all
three of them. I will knock them out.
Question: I see. Well, for a long time you have had a
great ambition to fight Sakuraba but at the time of your first Pride
appearance Sakuraba hadn't yet fought with anyone from the Gracie side,
isn't that right? From when did you get the intention [iyoku｣
to fight Sakuraba? Who did you think you wanted to fight in your Pride
Vanderlei: Uh, I wanted to fight with Sakuraba merely because we are in
the same weight class. From the first I didn't select my opponents you
know. I accept the offerｓ that come. Even now, I will fight any strong
fighter in my weight class anytime. In my Pride debut, I didn't have
anyone special in mind.
Question: In spite of saying that, you have been
persistently pursuing Sakuraba for a long time. Now the fight is
actually going to happen, isn't it? Have
you already discovered Sakuraba's weak point? Within the
scope of what you can prudently reveal, what have
you found out about Sakuraba's weak point?
Vanderlei: Sakuraba is weak at Muay Thai. I am better than he is at
striking. If he comes to me with punches or kicks, he will crumble [or
fall down; taoreru ].
Question: Now that the time and place for the fight
has been decided, how do you feel?
Vanderlei: What I think is that I am totally superior to Sakuraba and
that I will defeat him without a doubt. I want to show the world who I
am with my defeat of Sakuraba [Sakuraba ni katte sekai naka ni yumei
Question: What is Sakuraba's weapon that you
must be most on guard against?
Vanderlei: Well, I had better not be
reckless [keikai shinai to ikenai] It will be Sakuraba's ground
technique [that I should guard against]. But you can rest assured that I
have prepared well and I am ready to engage him on the ground.
Question: What technique have you decided to use
Vanderlei: The same technique that I use against everyone--strike and
knock out [dageki de no KO da].
Question: Previously, you said that if you
fought Sakuraba it would be a good fight. But what did you mean by
Vanderlei: If Sakuraba comes to me with
striking, I will meet him head on. I intend to attack with striking and
I hope Sakuraba will do it too. If it happens like that, it will
naturally be a good fight, won't it!? [Soo sureba shizen to ii shiai
ni narun ja nai no kana. ]
Question: Sakuraba agrees with you that the fans want
to see an interesting fight. But what does "interesting fight"
mean to you?
Vanderlei: Don't the fans like stand-up fighting better than ground
Question: In Pride 12 there were many deadlocked
fights. What do you think about that?
Vanderlei: I don't have anything to say about such things.
Vanderlei: I mean, this might sound terrible but I only watch my own
fights. My fights don't end in deadlocks.
Question: Ah. -- What is your type? (laugh). In order
to avoid deadlock, it seems new Pride 13 rules will allow head butts. If
the new rule is introduced, will that be to your advantage? Or, will
that be to your disadvantage? Will you use them in the fight?
Vanderlei: If it is permitted for me to use knees and
head butts I will appreciate it a lot.
Question: About Sakuraba, I understand that you are confident but, after
the Sakuraba fight, what is your objective and plan? Are there any
Japanese fighters that would interest you to fight?
Vanderlei: It could be a Japanese. It could be
anyone. Any strong fighter.
Question: I understand. I will enjoy watching your
fight with Sakuraba.
Vanderlei: Ok, enjoy it.
Here's another (earlier) interview with
2001, Roberto Pedreira, all rights reserved.