PRE-PRIDE GP 2004 FINAL ROUND INTERVIEWS
08/18/2004
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

Pride Fighting Championships: Will Bustamante be in your corner?
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: No, because Murilo will fight, too, and he will get too excited.
Pride: Well, only 2 fights and you're the Grand Prix Champion. What do you think of Kharitonov.
Nogueira: He's tough. He's a big guy with good reach and big arms. His best skill is boxing. He's got a good right hook. A lot of different moves that we don't see in fighting, like hooks. I've got to take care.
Pride: You've trained in Cuba and you've worked a lot on your striking.
Nogueira: I can fight him standing, too, but I think I'm better than him on the ground. I will fight him standing up too, though. I'm not going to shoot on his legs all the time.
Pride: So, very methodical, patient and waiting to see what he's going to do?
Nogueira: Yeah. I'm pretty confident in everything. The Russian's are very good at Greco-Roman wrestling. I think they are the best at that so I have to take care of that, too.
Pride: You seem to be in good shape.
Nogueira: I've trained harder.
Pride: What did you focus on?
Nogueira: I did a lot of cardio for this fight. I was training 20 rounds of boxing everyday but now I do it shorter, but more explosive. I trained longer on the ground but now it's shorter and faster.
Pride: Are you surprised that Kharitonov made it this far.
Nogueira: No, he's good. He's got skills and he's a tough opponent.
Pride: You'd be the first to beat him.
Nogueira: He's got 9 wins. He's got good pounding, striking and good control.
Pride: Will we see another anaconda choke?
Nogueira: If I do that, I will retire and make a tape about how to do that choke. (laughing)
Pride: I read somewhere that there're variations on that move.
Nogueira: Yeah, many things.
Pride: Have you worked on anything else new?
Nogueira: Yeah, I've been working but I believe in my old movements. I will try everything and I think I will get him.
Pride: When you go into a fight, do you already have a game plan?
Nogueira: No, I just react in the fight. Sometimes I do the move but I don't even know what I did.
Pride: Assuming you go to the finals, what do you think of Fedor and Ogawa?
Nogueira: Ogawa is a good fighter but he has a limit. He's a judo fighter, not a striker. He could be good because he is strong with long arms but I don't think he even compares to Fedor. He's a tough guy and he's proved this many times. Ogawa has only fought a couple of times. Fedor has fought tough opponents, like Coleman and Randleman. I thought when Randleman threw him, he has to show some ground skills and he did.
Pride: Fedor's your only loss. What did you gain from your fight with him? What will you do better if you fight again?
Nogueira: I didn't attack him enough. He was attacking me more and he was in better shape than me. He pushed the fight.
Pride: That's your style though, right? You wait for the fighter to attack and then react.
Nogueira: Yeah, but I should have attacked more. I was a little bit slow.
Pride: So, you would press the fight with him if you meet in the final round?
Nogueira: Yeah. I think I can do much better if I make it to the top.
Pride: Who do you think will win between Wanderlei Silva and Yuki Kondo?
Nogueira: Wanderlei Silva. He's stronger than Kondo. Yuki always has a good surprise, though. He threw a knee against Tito and he beat Mario. He's got something.
Pride: Is this the best shape you've ever been in?
Nogueira: Yes, mentally and physically. I was 100%, then I got a cold about 3 weeks ago. I was sick for 1 week and now I'm back to 100%.
Pride: You're the Interim Champion. You probably want to unify the belts with Fedor. How important is winning this tournament to you?
Nogueira: Nothing is compared to that for me. I'm very focused on that. I've been training for this every day. To me, it's the most important martial arts event in the world, ever. I know how important it is for all the fighters in the world. I'm very happy to be here among the other guys.
Pride: Is there anything else that you want to accomplish before the end of your career?
Nogueira: I want to win this tournament and maybe beat Fedor in the future to unify the belt. It's not my last goal, though.