You fought in RINGS, bringing us where we are today, beating Emelianenko with that cut. You've also fought Nogueira to a draw and fought Randy Couture in RINGS. You also beat Ricardo Morais recently, right?
You seem like you're very prepared. Some people regard you as the great Japanese hope against Emelianenko. How do you feel going in to the fight? I heard that you feel you can beat him on the ground 100%. What makes you say that?
I can fight standing and I can make a game plan with both standing and grappling. Fedor concentrates on standing though and doesn't put much effort into ground fighting. Basically, I can do both and he can't. He submitted Mark Coleman with an arm-bar but that wasn't because he was aiming for it. The arm just happened to be in front of him.
The time was right. That's one reason. Another reason is that the world's top heavyweights are concentrated in PRIDE now. Since I want to fight with the top heavyweights, this is where I need to be. Whether it's Fedor or Nogueira or Mirko, I want to fight the top heavyweights. This is where I have to be to fight them.
I've never received an official offer before. I just want to fight strong guys, whether it's in PRIDE or Pancrase or the UFC. It's not that I'm fighting because it's PRIDE. I'm fighting because I have the opportunity to fight a strong guy. It just happens to be in PRIDE.
Does it make you feel good to represent your country against the top heavyweight, or is this just another fight for you? Any extra motivation from that?
Sorry, I keep repeating myself but I've wanted to fight Fedor, Nogueira and Mirko for a long time. This time is Fedor so it's important for me. He's the strongest of the three. I'm really excited about this.
Do you feel that you are the great Japanese hope? Like, this is the last heavyweight we've got to throw at him?