Yeah, my feelings have changed a little. There's a lot of pressure. I worried a little when I got the offer, which isn't usual for me. I wondered how it would turn out. Then, I thought that I'll have to fight him again, sooner or later. I'm also doing well at the moment too, so I decided to accept.
Rogerio has taken down a big name since fighting me. I did think about it. I've always said, "Yes, I'll fight" when an offer came but this time, it was, "Let me think about it for awhile." I only thought about it for an hour, though. (laughing)
Have you been watching your debut fight against him?
He's very tough. He doesn't play around at all and he comes straight out for you. He moves faster than his brother, Rodrigo, but his brother is stronger. To be honest, I'm worried. He was using punches in Korea. His defense is perfect and I think that will also make it a stiff fight.
I saw it. It looked like Sakuraba was tired in the end. He took a lot of hits, didn't he? It didn't hurt him, though. (Rogerio) is good at hitting his target but it's questionable whether it hurts or not.
So, you're just going to go straight it, even if you get hit?
I really felt he is good on the ground when I fought him last time. I've never been overwhelmed on the ground like that before. His attacks aren't very strong but he incredibly quickly. I think if you can pass Rogerio's guard, there's no one in MMA that can stop your guard pass. That's why I've been working heavily on guard passes.
Were you good at revenge matches when you were doing judo?
I thought that I might never fight an MMA fight again. I was tired and I hated it. I thought I would never climb into the ring again. Then, with time, I started to feel bitter about the loss and that it wasn't over yet. I've been carrying that feeling inside of me.
Were you confident before you actually fought in MMA?
I don't like it. I feel pressured. If the earlier fights aren't good, it will turn out bad. It's also too long to wait until my fight. Japanese fighters have lost all of their main events fights in BUSHIDO. So, I think I have to win. Mr. Sakakibara has gotten tough, too.
I haven't been able to go recently. (laughing) The last time I went, there was a world title fight or something and the gym was completely empty. I just punched the heavy bag by myself and went home. (laughing) My punch combinations have increased. It's a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to this fight. I've got some new combinations.
PRIDE General Director, Takada, and DSE President, Sakakibara, have issued an order to win by submission or KO.
That's basically what I'm aiming for. If not, it won't be exciting. If I win by submission or KO this time, it will raise my position. In boxing, this would be a preliminary match. We have to give them what they expect.