Tom Erikson

Pride Fighting Championships: Big Cat, are you 40 now?
Tom Erikson: Yeah, an old man.
Pride: 6'3"?
Erikson: No, I'm 6'5"
Pride: What's your official weight for this fight?
Erikson: Probably 130, 131 kilos.
Pride: That's about 288 lb. Are you still with RAW team?
Erikson: No, I have no team.
Pride: You knocked out Randleman in Brazil Open '97?
Erikson: Yeah.
Pride: The last time in PRIDE, you submitted Tim Catalfo with a rear naked choke.
Erikson: Yeah.
Pride: And, you're PRIDE debut was against Goodridge in PRIDE 8 and you beat him.
Erikson: Yep.
Pride: Ok, how do you feel about being in PRIDE after a couple years' hiatus?
Erikson: It's nice to come home. This is where I started fighting in Japan so it's nice to come home. The K-1 stuff gets rough.
Pride: Jan "The Giant" was your last K-1 fight?
Erikson: Yeah. In September, I knocked him out in 55 seconds.
Pride: With what?
Erikson: A big, sloppy overhand right. I dropped him 3 times. The 3rd time I put him down. I jumped right on him. I didn't give him a chance. He got about 5 feet out of his corner and I clipped him, put him on his ass, they gave him a standing 8, went right back and did it again. I just went to finish him and he actually clipped me with a short right. I stumbled and threw a big overhand right. There's a neat picture of it and I've got my eyes closed.
Pride: What will be the big chances in your game since the last time the fans saw you in PRIDE?
Erikson: I think some of my punching. I think I've probably improved in knowing how to be a professional fighting in PRIDE. You've got to be able to come into the ring here in Japan and entertain people. You've got to put a good show on and entertain people. I think with my background in amateur wrestling, you just want to win fights. You want to do what you've gotta do to win and go and get out of there, but that's not how the Japanese people think. That stuff's good for the UFC and everything else back in the States, but here (in Japan), you've got to show these people that you've got some spirit and you're going to get into this fight. Win or lose, that's what they want to see. You've got to learn to present yourself and put on a show for these people, and they will love you for it, win or lose. I think PRIDE is a little pissed off because I looked better in my K-1 fights than I did in PRIDE. That's only because I trained with Goodridge and had him sitting right behind me, talking into my ear and telling me what kind of shit to talk. (laughing)
Pride: The more the sport grows in the US, that's probably what they'll want to see.
Erikson: I'll give you an example. Gary's fought in Vegas several times and I've worked his corner. Some of the things he's done there and the excitement he's shown there, they were booing him out of the place. Over here, they'd be throwing roses at him. He's jumping up on the ropes, having a good time and showing the crowd a show but they don't like it. They just want to see a nice little win and get out of the ring. That's okay. That's fine.
Pride: How have you prepared for this fight against Fabricio Werdum, Mirko Cro Cop's jiu-jitsu trainer?
Erikson: I've had 12 days. How much can I prepare? (laughing) I took the Jan fight with 4 days notice!
Pride: So, you basically thought about it on the plane ride over? (laughing)
Erikson: Well, you know, for me, I'm a coach. For me, unless I'm given the right amount of notice, you can't train for someone in 12 days. First of all, you're running around, worried about medical tests, setting up your travel, putting your travel party together and coming over here. Plus, my job. If I knew I was going to fight in PRIDE 3 or 4 times a year, I would sit there and train and be ready to go. I train anyway, though. I wrestle everyday. I'm an assistant wrestling coach at Perdue.
Pride: Do you have kids?
Erikson: I've got 2.
Pride: Boys or girls?
Erikson: A boy, Bowdie, 13, and my daughter, Jadlynn is going to be 4 in March. My daughter's just like me, too. She's got a bad attitude. (laughing) My wife hates me for it!
Pride: What's your wife's name?
Erikson: Randi.
Pride: What are your biggest strengths coming into this fight?
Erikson: I thought I was going to fight on New Year's. Coming over here, you've got to show the Japanese people something. If you come over here as a fat slob, looking at the history here, they run those guys out of town. I've made a commitment that I want to come over here and finish up over here. I want to be better prepared physically looking, and when people see me know, they are probably going to rethink this fight. It's kind of fun. I guess I'm written off as the underdog and that's fine. You've got to present yourself over here, and that's part of it. I want to fight some more over here. I'm not done yet. I've got a little juice left. I can still give people some trouble. I think the K-1 fighting has helped my standup a little bit. Working with Gary and presenting myself, I think that's helped. I want to try to take this guy out, then go through his teacher, then go through the next guy. Let's work out way up. Let's go through him. Then I guess Cro Cop's next. Then, who's next? Nogueira, I guess. Fedor. I want to fight the best people. That's never changed. Anything I've ever done, I've always wanted to fight the best people but I have to work my way up. I don't want to fight the best guy right now. I'll work my way up. Let me kick the student's ass. Let me kick the teacher's ass. Then the guy who beat the teacher. I'll work my way up the line.
Pride: So, you're going to come right out firing.
Erikson: I'm going to dictate the pace. I'm not going to wait around. I don't get paid overtime.
Pride: You feel at 40, you're just as ready to go? That's not a factor?
Erikson: It's better. You used to fuck when you were young. You didn't know what you were doing but now you do. You may not have the stamina but you hit it even better. It's the same thing with fighting. I feel I'm more knowledgeable about some stuff, and I've learned my lessons from the past. Getting in shape is one of them. Hopefully, we'll go out there and grapple with him.