PRE-PRIDE 29 INTERVIEW
02/21/2005
Mark Coleman

Pride Fighting Championships: Mark, you are 40, right?
Mark Coleman : Yes, I am 40 years old.
Pride: 6'1"
Mark: Yeah, I guess.
Pride: What are you weighing for this fight?
Mark: I'm not sure. I'm hoping to weigh about 105 kilos or 106 kilos. That's about 232 pounds and I came here weighing about 247 because I was eating so clean and so good every 2 hours. I knew it was going to come off this week, though.
Pride: Who have you been training with?
Mark: Spreading it out. I went to Las Vegas, finally. I got a chance to get away from the distractions. I had a variety of people to train with. I still felt like I made a lot of the decisions in what I did that day. I hoped to have a coach but they didn't get one because I seemed to make the coaching decisions. I did take a lot of input, though.
Pride: Obviously this is personal. (Mirko) took the mic after submitting Randleman last time and said he wants to fight Mark Coleman. At the time, it looked like you wanted to do it right then and there.
Mark: To be honest with you, he came over and shook my hand. He was very cordial and very polite. I told him, I asked him then and there ??et's do it.??EI don't think people know this but I asked him first. I said let's do it and he said let's do it. He said right here, right now? I said, ??ell no!??E(laughing) I said, ??ell no, man! For some fucking cash!??EThat's why he said that. He's such a true fighter that he took it a little personal. He got challenged.
Pride: He said that he thought it came from you and he wanted to fight right there. He thought you were challenging him right there. It was just a misunderstanding.
Mark: I was just trying to get myself a piece of the man.
Pride: Yeah, a lot of people wanted to know why is he fighting Coleman if he wants Emelianenko.
Mark: He probably went to his corner and got told it doesn't make any sense, but he's the type of guy that if he gets challenge, he has to challenge them back.
Pride: And there's a storyline already built it, with the whole Hammer House thing.
Mark: It was definitely nothing personal. He's a great fighter. Here I am, at 40 years old, and I'm in the main event. That's great.
Pride: What are you planning then, having seen what he's done recently? What are you going to avoid his strengths?
Mark: Basically the same game plan as in 1996 when I broke into the business. I've got to take this guy down and pound him out. It's that simple. There's no sense changing it, especially against this guy. If we're on our feet, I'm in some trouble. I'm going to find a way to get him on the ground. Nobody's stopped my takedown yet and I don't think he'll be the first. If he does, we might have some problems. (laughing) I do need to keep my hands up but if he kicks me, it's time for me. If I don't shoot when he kicks me, something's wrong. I need to shoot on him every time he tries to kick me.
Pride: I haven't had a chance to talk to you since your fight with Emelianenko last year. What happened in that fight that you don't to do this time?
Mark: It was the first fight after my neck surgery. I wasn't really sure how my neck was going to respond. I did a lot of training, but it was against machines and against hills, not a lot of sparring and grappling. I wasn't sure what to expect in there. It started out at a fast pace and when we hit the ground, I said you'd better slow this shit down or you're going to run out of gas. As soon as I slowed it down, you know. I was literally talking to myself, saying ??ou'd better take a break.??EAs soon as I took a break..
Pride: Do you guys surprise yourself at all? Do you expect to be able to take him down like that right away or did it surprise you?
Mark: I didn't expect it to be that easy. When someone comes at you like Fedor does, that aggressively, they are prone for a takedown. I expect Cro Cop to be a completely different takedown. He's going to be very cautious and slow, and it's going to be a different takedown to get. I got a feeling with Fedor that he didn't care if I took him down because he's comfortable on the bottom. I've learned that things have changed since '96. There is no taking breaks. You take a break and you end up with a fucking arm bar slapped on you. No excuses. It was jiu-jitsu 101. It looked foolish on tape.
Pride: It happens to everybody.
Mark: You have to be ready to fight 20 minutes.
Pride: Are you going to be aggressive in this fight or just wait and see what happens.
Mark: I'm going to feel him out the same as he feels me out. I'll respond to how he's reacting to what I'm doing.
Pride: Do you believe that his submissions are for real now?
Mark: I think a front guillotine, anybody is subject to it. That's a move that anybody can do. He's a very strong man and if he slaps it on somebody, and you don't defend against it, you are going to get choked out. As for the rest of the submissions, I don't think he's become a black belt yet. I do respect him, though. I think in his mind, working with a black belt, he feels he's a great submission guy but I should be okay in that area. I've been working on jiu-jitsu myself.
Pride: That's been the Achilles heel for Hammer House, it seems. You've pioneered the ground and pound but the submissions... Even for Kevin in the last fight, it didn't seem like there was any defense. Has there been any effort to work on submissions and defense?
Mark: Definitely. We look stupid on the outside but we know how to defend the guillotine. We know how to defend the arm bar. Sometimes in a fight you just don't do it. That was the case against Nogueira. I wasn't prepared to fight him to begin with. You've got to move and stay moving the whole time. If you stop moving, it's over. Hopefully, I can do that. I feel like I'm in good shape. I've finally got my focus back. I'm comfortable where I'm at in life but that only took place when I got offered the fight with Cro Cop. That kind of snapped me out of the funk I was in. When you are offered a guy like that, you realize that you have to make that a priority.
Pride: There's lots at stake for him, considering his next fight, more than the money.
Mark: I respect the man. I appreciate the man, but hopefully, for his sake, he isn't taking me too lightly. I would also like to dedicate this fight to my mother-in-law, Vicky, who has been fighting terminal cancer for the past 4 years. She's been a big, strong backbone and support for me. Also, of course, dedicated to my 2 kids. They are at the point that I was in Vegas for weeks and I asked them if I was going for too long. They said no, we understand, daddy. You have to train hard. Take as long as you need.