This is my first fight since New Year's Eve last year, so I feel really great. I can't wait for the fight. The reason that I had so much time away was that I wanted to rest after my New Year's Eve fight against Silva. I had a lot of fights last year, a lot of little injuries and my body was just tired. I didn't go on a long vacation but I rested my body in Brazil. Thanks to that, my body and my mind are both read to fight.
Alistair has given many different kinds of fights and he has experience. I want to shut down Alistair's guillotine and knee-kicks and push the fight at my own pace. I'm always trying to fight at my own rhythm.
I think this fight is also to decide who can change for the Middleweight Championship belt. I think I'm the closest to the belt that I've ever been but I have never had a belt. I want the belt, no matter what. To say it clearly, I don't agree with the decision of my fight against Silva on New Year's Eve! Other than the three judges at the fight, everyone says that decision was wrong. No matter what, Silva and I are 1-1, so after I beat Alistair on Sunday, I want to settle things with Silva once and for all in a Championship title match.
My conditioning is very good. I want to fight as soon as possible. I trained in striking and on the ground as I always do. I was able to cut weight with no problems, too.
Arona is better on the ground but not so much standing. From my point of view, our striking level is completely different. His striking is not anything special at all. I will show the difference in our fight on Sunday.
He's the ADCC World Champion but I'm also the European Champion. I'm not scared at all, even if we have to fight it out on the ground. I'm a black belt in brazilian jujitsu and I won't have any problems. I want to use my striking in this fight, though, so I plan on standing when I fight. Arona's tackle? I'm not worried about it. I'm just thinking about knocking him out. It doesn't matter whether Arona tries to stall or not. Even if we tie up and he takes me down, I will just stand up and fight. That's what I've been training for.
I'm just concentrating on fighting right now. I'm not worried about what Arona is thinking. I am just concentrating on hurting my opponent and knocking him down.
As I understand it, this is a match to decide who gets to challenge Wanderlei Silva for the belt. Once I've beat Arona and gained the right to challenge Wanderlei, I want to start preparing for that. Challenging for the Middleweight title was actually my goal last year. I increased my weight this year to fight in the Open Weight Grand Prix but I hurt my neck the day before the Opening Round of the Open Weight Grand Prix and I wasn't able to use 100% of my strength. That dream was crushed so now I will go after the Middleweight belt.
I didn't bring my hammer this time. Look forward to it next year. (laughing) I am going to kick Arona's ass on Sunday!