Eric Esch

Butterbean: I'm extremely excited over my first PRIDE. I've always liked PRIDE and I think it's an honor to be able to fight in the world's greatest event.
The reason I've been fighting in mixed martial arts (MMA) fights recently is that MMA is fun. There are a lot of different elements in MMA and it really suits my big heart. I'm training at American Top Team now and they are like my family.
My weapons are punches but my grappling has improved a lot. Everyone used to say that it was over if they could take me down but it's different now. I'm going to surprise everyone with my Bean Jujitsu. (laughing)
My best techniques are chokes. I've actually won several fights with chokes and it would be interesting if I beat Minowa with a choke. I don't have a neck like a turtle, though, so Minowa probably won't be able to choke me. By the way, I will be about 390 lbs in this fight. There are some giant MMA fighters like me but they don't have endurance. I've got endurance and I know how to use my body effectively.
Minowa is strong, he's brave and he's one of my favorite fighters. This will be a fight between two brave warriors and think it will be extremely exciting. I'm looking forward to this fight myself. I have to be careful of Minowa's leg locks. I have to make sure Minowa doesn't touch my legs. If we're standing, though, there's nothing to fear. Minowa, keep trying to punch me, please. I'll always be smiling. (laughing)
Minowa has fought tall opponents before but I doubt he's every fought someone as big and strong as me. This fight will be a match up of Minowa's technique and Butterbean's power. This fight is apparently compared to the fight between Antonio Inoki and Muhammad Ali but Ali didn't know anything about ground techniques. I'm going to put on a display of the new style Bean Jujitsu that I'm learning at American Top Team. I'm twice as big as Muhammad Ali, too.
Would I rather win by KO or submission? What do the fans want to see? Either one would be fine for me. If a KO is better, though, I'll knock him out!
* Ikuhisa Minowa was unable to attend the pre-fight interviews.