GTR Archives 2000-2020

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Global Training Report

Presents

Interview with 

Vitor Belfort

From Gong Kakutougi Plus

Oct. 2000

Translated by Yoko Kondo

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Q: First of all, tell me about your fight with Gilbert Yvel.

Victor: I feel good. I think it helped spread my name to Japan. He is a very famous fighter in Japan and is a king of Rings. So I think I could help promote my comeback in Japan with that fight.

Q: It was your third fight in Japan, wasnft it?

Victor: Yes it was, following the fights with Joe Charles in UFC Japan and with Sakuraba in Pride.

Q: Yvel is called a dangerous striker, but your punches were more effective.

Victor: Yes. Everybody has his own tactics. When I was young, I was so immature that I was just fighting without any thought. But now I consider it a very serious job. I used my brain in the fight with Yvel so that I could prevent him from using his knee or kick. And I could control the fight from the beginning to the end. I would like to thank Jesus Christ for all I could do there.

Q: You are a jiu-jitsu fighter, but you mainly stress punching.

Victor: Yes, and I am training kicking too now.

Q: Is that so? Why did you start the training of boxing?

Victor: I observed many kinds of fighters to study their strategies before I started NHB. There were not many grapplers who were good at punching, so I wanted to fight in a different way from them. Fortunately I have been training boxing from my younger days, and I had a gift for that from God. The trainers also appreciate my punching technique, so I am trying to use it in NHB too.

Q: I heard that you were very close to participate in the boxing competition in Sydney Olympic.

Victor: Yes. I was supposed to participate in the national competition to select a representative of Brazil, but I couldnft do it because of injury. Taking it the other way round, however, I can be here to fight in Pride because I didnft go to the Olympic.

Q: It was said that ground fighters were stronger than strikers around the time when Royce showed up in UFC in the first time. What do you think about it?

Victor: Nobody knew about the ground technique those days; chokes, armlocks, leg locks, nothing about them. Then strikers started learning the ground techniques so that they could have more chances to win. However, I am originally a jiu-jitsu fighter and a good puncher too. It is my strong point. Now it is indispensable for fighters to master all kinds of technique.

Q: It means being an all-round fighter is a key to success in NHB.

Victor: Thatfs right.

Q: Now we have a kakutougi called gSeikendoh in Japan, whose purpose is to develop the technique for beating up an opponent before getting into the ground. Tell me your opinion about it. Ebenezer Braga, for example, is participating in it.

Victor: I donft like it so much. If I make a rule, the standing technique will be limited to only punches and kicks, but no elbow, knee and head-butt. The ground technique, on the other hand, should be limited to submission and punches, but no kicks, elbow, knee and head-butt. I think fighters are protected safely under this rule and the fights will be exciting for spectators. Then it will become very popular and have a big sponsor. Consequently fighters will become famous and better off just like soccer players.

Q: How about Rings KOK?

Victor: I donft like it so much, because it limits punches in the ground to only body. That rule is much safer, though. The rule of Pride is good, but it should prohibit kicks and knee in the ground. They are useless, and there is a possibility to give a fatal damage on fighters.

Q: Igor Vovchanchyn, one of the top fighters in Pride, seldom fights in the ground. He is good at escaping from tackles and a very strong puncher. It seems that strong strikers like him will come out more and more in numbers than ground fighters in future.

Victor: In a fight with a fighter like him, it is important how to hold him in the ground.

Q: Do you think jiu-jitsu fighters also have be all-round in order to survive as a winner in the world today?

Victor: Thatfs right.

Q: You belong to the Brazilian Top Team. Do your teammates, Murilo or Sperry, think that way too?

Victor: Yes, they do.

Q: By the way, Sakuraba said that he has never talked big in response to what you called him a big mouth.

Victor: Is that so? I heard that he was saying, gVictor is weakh, or gBrazilians are weakh, or glet me fight with a stronger fighterh. I will apologize to him, if itfs not true. Actually he was very friendly when I directly talked to him. But it is not good if he is speaking ill of me or other fighters. It happens to anybody to lose due to a bad condition. But if hey are not his words, I have to say gsorryh to him.

Q: Certainly he said, glet me fight with a stronger fighterh. [Translatorfs note: Mr. Sakurabafs precise words were gmotto tsuyoihito to yarasete kudasaih.]

Victor: I donft think it is appropriate for a professional to say such a thing. He should keep mouth his shut and show his appreciation to people around him. It is impolite to say, glet me fight with a stronger fighterh. Even strong fighters are not always in perfect condition. I entered the ring that day despite a broken bone in my hand. Look at his fight with a strong fighter, Vovchanchyn. Vovchanchyn played with him like a child. And it ended with him [Sakuraba] throwing in the towel. Everyone has good days and  bad days. So it is not acceptable to say something arrogant when you win. Vovchanchyn lost to Coleman, and Coleman lost fights too. Kerr lost to  Fujita [translator's note: Kerr also lost to Vovchanchyn]. Even the greatest fighters can have a bad day.

Q: Yes, right. I think Sakuraba had no intention to insult you. Did you call for a rematch with him to shut his mouth?

Victor: No, I didnft mean that. I did it because I have confidence in giving him a better fight next time so that the fans can enjoy it. But there is nothing in my mind now but the fight with Matsui Daijiro on Sunday. Tell Sakuraba that right now I am thinking about only Matsui. First I have to beat Matsui.

Q: I see. Do your best. I am expecting a good fight.

Victor: Thank you. I will do my best.

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(c) 2000, Yoko Kondo, all rights reserved.

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