It has been a long time since I fought in PRIDE but I am in good condition. I don't have any problems. I dislocated my right shoulder when I fell in my fight against Alistair Overeem because I wasn't careful when I fell. I didn't even realize that I was injured and I was ready to fight until the end. Russian fighters fight until the end, no matter what happens.
The fans probably didn't expect me to lose and I certainly didn't expect it, either. I think anything can happen in a fight, though, especially in a big fight like PRIDE.
It took a long time to heal my right shoulder, so I wasn't able to do anything over the summer. I had a cast on the entire time. It took a long time because I had to have all kinds of treatments, like getting massages.
I thought about a lot of things while I was healing. What I thought about the most was that many things can happen in your life. There are people like me that compete in a sports event and get injured but there are also people that are involved in accident and get injuries that are much worse than mine. Some people lose arms and legs in accidents. That's what I was thinking about. I am a Russian and Russians believe that they are strong. I was the one that decided to begin training in martial arts and I was thinking that I don't want to give up because of this. I want to keep fighting until the end.
I did a lot of different training after I began training again. I worked on a former-Soviet farm, cutting weeds and digging up potatoes. It may be a little strange to use those kinds of things as training but it was effective in strengthening the muscles and joints that I injured. The air was fresh and the food was delicious. I think my body became strong because I living my life among nature. In that sense, I think I have recovered.
It's funny, right? I know that everyone expects me to be lifting weights at a sports gym, or doing other serious training like sparring but I placed more importance on working on the farm than those things for this fight. I trained more with a shovel than I did with weights.
My impression of my opponent, Aleksander, is that he's a sportsman, just like me. We were on the same time but I haven't seen Aleksander in a long time and I wasn't watching his movements carefully. I won't know until we actually fight. I won't have any problems whether the fight stays standing or goes to the ground. I will just fight.
I feel really strongly that I want to win this fight and then fight Fedor. I will think about it after I know the results of this fight. I think everything depends on this fight.
I'm finally returning to the ring. I want to give the fans a fight that they can enjoy. Believe in me. I'm also looking forward to everyone's support. Thank you.
I'm in very good condition now. Actually, I caught the flu right before my last fight and I had a high fever. That was why I ran out of energy and I think that's why I lost. I didn't lose in terms of techniques but I think I would have been able to beat Josh down if I had felt like my normal self.
I trained with Kharitonov before. I don't have any special impression of him from when we were on the same team, though. I know he's a fighter with good technique and a lot of experience but I don't feel any special about fighting someone that was my friend before. I think this fight is just one fight like all the others I've had. My opponent is nothing more than someone I have to fight.
He doesn't have anything that scares me, on the ground or striking because I have trained to be able to respond to anything that happens, no matter who my opponent is or how they try to attack me. I won't back down in this fight. I will stand up against him. I won't have any problems if Sergei uses grappling or striking. I've never competed against Sergei in a sambo match so I don't know what his level or his abilities are as a sambo competitor.
This fight will be a reserve match but I'm just happy that I can still return to the tournament. I've trained hard and I would be happy to take someone else's place in the Final Round. Please understand, however, that I do not want any of the remaining four fighters to get any severe injuries, though.
Who do I think will win the tournament? It's difficult to decide. I know all four fighters personally and I know what techniques each fighter is good at. Hmm... it will probably be there person that has trained the most for this fight. We won't know until it's over.
I think all of the fights are exciting in this event. I will do my best to give an exciting fight, too. I ask everyone for their support.