PRE-PRIDE 25 INTERVIEWS
03/15/2003
Nobuhiko Takada

Pride Fighting Championships: What is your prediction for the title match?
Nobuhiko Takada: I don't know how it will turn out. 50/50 is kind of boring so I'll say 60/40 in favor of Nogueira. Fedor must get on top but Nogueira is okay from the top or the bottom.
Pride: Nogueira's really an all-round fighter.
Takada: Exactly. He can strike, too. It's a tough call.
Pride: You said that this fight might determine the future of PRIDE.
Takada: Not just this fight, this event. I think a lot is riding on this event. There's nothing to do now but leave it up to the fighters. They'll go out and fight for the win. I'm sure that's what will happen in these 8 fights. The last 3 fights are special, of course, but even the rest of the fights could headline at any other event. I think it's a card of gold.
Pride: How is Sakuraba?
Takada: I believe he will be at his best but I have to clarify that. He'll be at the best that is possible for him. If you wanted to compare his to his all-time best, he'll probably be at 60 or 70%. But, he'll be at the best that he can now. He's got a strong opponent. If Sakuraba does what he's supposed to do, he'll win. If he makes even one mistake though, he can get submitted. His opponent is completely capable of that and Sakuraba knows that better than anyone else.
Pride: How will you support PRIDE from here on?
Takada: My connection with PRIDE will become clear after March 16th. I'm still running Takada Dojo, as I always have. I've heard some talk about being a producer but that's not my job title at the moment. I'm just like the fans, though. I don't want PRIDE to disappear. I'm very close to it and I want to support it closely. I think everything will be clearer after March 16th. Whatever connection I may have with PRIDE will be decided after that.
Pride: How exactly can you support them?
Takada: Doing anything. If they tell me to put the ring together, I'll do it. (laughing) I'll do anything. Seriously, it's a really important event. It can't disappear. I think everyone, from the staff to the fans to the fighters, wants to have a Grand Prix.
Pride: The fans are the most important, right?
Takada: Of course. It's an event so in order to get the fans to come out; we have to invest the proper amount of resources. Like a party, you've got to have good food if you want your friends to come. As far as March 16th, the food's not out yet but we've got the materials together. I think it might just be the perfect card. I strongly feel that the door to PRIDE's future will be opened.