Shungo Oyama, coming off a 1 and a half-year break from the ring, will take on Mirko Filipovic in the upcoming Bushido 4 event. How does Oyama, who volunteered to fight Mirko, plan on beating his dangerous opponent?
Pride Fighting Championships:
There's been a lot of talk about when you completely controlled Mirko on the ground in America, before he made his MMA debut.
He didn't know anything about ground fighting at that time so it doesn't really help me now. It's just a fact and nothing more. At that time, I thought that Mirko's physical strength is incredible and even though he supposedly didn't know any ground techniques, he moved with instinct. He's got a lot of sense. If someone as strong as he is learns to fight on the ground, he'd be a real threat.
From when did you start thinking that you want to fight Mirko?
Very recently. I heard that Mirko still didn't have an opponent and I had wanted to fight for a while. It's weird but I had a feeling in America, when we sparred, that I'd fight him someday. So, I think this fight has some strange fate connected to it.
Yeah. (laughing) I'm the opposite. I think I'm very lucky. I think there should be at least 1 person like me. As a man and a martial artist, being able to fight guys of this caliber is like an investment for me.
So, you would rather not fight someone who looks like you could beat him?
At the present moment, yes. Honestly, I've injured both eyes and I don't know how long I can continue. I think it's best for me to take it 1 fight at a time and fight each one like it's my last. This will be a really important match. It was possible that I wouldn't be able to fight again due to my eye injuries but God gave me another chance so I'm very happy.
I'm thinking about that, of course, but I really won't know until we actually get in the ring. How far can I go forward? He is, without a doubt, the strongest guy I have ever fought so there it's difficult for me to predict. That' s both exciting and scary for me. I want to have fun on the fight day. It's just like right before I made my debut. It's fun but it's also completely terrifying. I felt the same way when I fought Silva and that brings back all those memories. They call him one of the most dangerous men in the world, don't they? It's the feeling of taking on that kind of guy and seeing exactly how strong he is. It's like my 2nd debut.
I've been working mainly on how I can use my main styles of judo and sambo, rather than striking, in MMA. The last time was about 70% striking but this time I've changed to ground fighting. I don't know if you would call it a return to my roots but this resting period was very good for me. I can think calmly now.
That's why I think this is my chance. I'm gratefully. The motivation is different. Mirko may think this is just a stepping-stone but for me, my life is on the life. I think that difference will show itself.
There has been talk of BUSHIDO disappearing. What do you think about President Sakakibara's comments?
That true. Even in amateur fights, if your opponent is skilled too, it will turn out the same way. We are pros, though, so we have to get over that wall. I think everyone has to think like that, all the time.