My injured arm has healed completely. The fans were also worried about me and I definitely want to show them a good fight to repay them.
I had surgery on March 17th and couldn't move my arm for three months after that. I was resting and doing rehabilitation following the surgery and couldn't practice martial arts at all during that time. I exercised just enough that my arm wouldn't move very much.
I was really depressed at that time. Fighters always lead extremely active lives but if you can't move your arm, you don't have anything to do. I was depressed, even if I was at home. I drove around a lot, though.
This will be my first Middleweight fight in a year. I had to drop 13kg for this fight. (laughing) Losing that weight was tough. I had to do it as a pro fighter, though, so I had a good time while losing weight.
I think Snake is an extremely good fighter. He's especially good at muay thai. I want to give a fight that will excite the fans and although Snake's a muay thai Champion, I intend to slug it out with him. You never know what will happen in a fight but I will use all the strength I have to give the fans a fight that they will like.
This is my first fight in seven months, so I trained as much as possible. We fighters are able to live our lives because the fans come to watch and cheer for us, so I will give everything I have to give them a satisfying, fun fight. I will be fighting for everyone on Sunday, so please come and watch!
Cyrille "The Snake" Diabate:
I'm extremely excited about my first PRIDE fight. It's an honor. I'm especially happy that that this fight is in such as big event as the Open Weight Grand Prix Final Round. I didn't have much time to prepare for this fight but I will give everything I have in this fight.
I've been interested in PRIDE for a long time. I've really wanted to fight in PRIDE over the past few years. I've gained weight and improved my body so I would be ready to fight in PRIDE at any time. I'm originally a muay thai fighter but I had already worked on other skills before this PRIDE fight was confirmed. Honestly, I felt that I might be able to fight in PRIDE and I'm extremely happy that I'm finally here. I will do my best.
I was really surprised when I received an offer to fight Shogun, the Middleweight Grand Prix Champion, as an opponent in my PRIDE debut. I didn't have any reason to refuse and I agreed right away. I think this is an incredible chance and it's an honor to fight him. I definitely want to fight my best on Sunday.
Shogun is a really incredible, all-round fighter. He's a world-class fighter on his feet and on the ground. He's got stamina and he's a top-athlete technically and in terms of conditioning. That's why he became Champion. He's also human, though, so he can be beaten.
It's difficult to say that Chute Boxe's muay thai style is the best in the world. I don't think they would win well in a striking-only match. However, they are the best at muay thai techniques adjusted for MMA. They are able to show the elements of muay thai in MMA matches extremely well.
It's not very big but I run an academy in my country, France, so I'm also a trainer. My daily training partners are my students. The name of my academy is "Snake Team". There's a jujitsu dojo near my home and that's were I train grappling. The instructor there is a top-class jujitsu player in France and that's why I train with him. We don't have a large academy to train in but we try to do our best using what we have around us to the maximum extent.
I got the nickname "The Snake" from when I entered a karate tournament. The promoters were giving nicknames to all of the fighters, like "Polar Bear" and "Lion." I was tall, so they called me "The Snake." I really like it. Be careful on the 10th because The Snake is coming to PRIDE! (laughing)