PRE-PRIDE 29 INTERVIEW
02/21/2005
Mario Sperry

Pride Fighting Championships: You are 38?
Mario Sperry: Yes, 38.
Pride: What's your official weight?
Sperry: 93kg.
Pride: You started with Carlson Gracie at 13 years old?
Sperry: Yes.
Pride: The last time we saw you was in BUSHIDO 2, so it's been a while.
Sperry: February 19. One year ago.
Pride: How have you been doing the last year?
Sperry: I was focusing on Rodrigo's training and focusing on business stuff but I was training.
Pride: How do you feel coming in to this fight?
Sperry: I'm feeling good and well prepared. Actually, I trained the whole year and at the end of 2004, I started training really hard. I trained a lot with Rodrigo for his last fight on December 31. Then, I just had to lose some weight for this fight. I lost about 6 kilos or something like that.
Pride: Yokoi also lost 6 kilos. Exactly 6 kilos. You've obviously seen Yokoi fight. He gave Rodrigo a good fight in the first round of the tournament. What do you expect from him?
Sperry: Same thing, moving around. He moves very well everywhere. I respect him as a fighter. He's got spirit. He likes to fight. I can see that, but I'm pretty confident.
Pride: Are you more confident with your standup?
Sperry: I've been training a lot. Maybe that last knock out was a sign of things to come. I feel pretty comfortable standing up now.
Pride: Obviously, the ground game is your bread-and-butter, though.
Sperry: Exactly. I'm not going to do stupid things. My plan is to fight on the ground, of course.
Pride: What do you think is his strongest point?
Sperry: I think he has good takedowns, good base and he behaves very well when he's in the guard.
Pride: Did you get any good advice from Rodrigo?
Sperry: Well, I was there, only a few meters away from the fight. (laughing) He told me some things and I'm kind of aware of what he can do. A fight's a fight.
Pride: Do you want to be in the tournament at 205?
Sperry: I'm a fighter. That's my job, if I'm invited. I will be training. If I'm invited, I will be there at 100%.
Pride: You've been a fighter for a long time and you've been successful, in and out of PRIDE. Where do you feel, at this stage of your career, are you best strengths as a fighter? Where do you want to improve?
Sperry: I'm always chasing new skills and trying to get better. I just love to train and I just love to fight. I'm feeling better to the point that I really want to get better. When I was young, I just wanted to win. Now, I want to win and get better. I feel that my body and my mind are so focused for training and doing things well, getting more skills, test my self, pushing my limits. Sometimes I feel like I'm going crazy. It's a spiritual thing. Everything. Training for the fight, the day of the fight, the fight itself, after the fight, everything is so good that I cannot live without that at this point in my life.
Pride: You are involved in every aspect. Business. Trainer. Fighter. Where do you see yourself in the next year, then? Do you want to continue to compete?
Sperry: Yes. Yes.
Pride: What goals do you have, then?
Sperry: My goal last year was to try to see Rodrigo at the top. We did our best but he couldn't do it. I think this year, I'm going to focus on myself a little more. I'm going to split the responsibility of the other fighters with Bustamante and Duarte.
Pride: Rodrigo came very close. Why do you feel he was unable to achieve his goal?
Sperry: First of all, Fedor is an amazing fighter. We knew that. I think the point that hurt us was that he changed his strategy. We were expecting him to do something and he did not. Of course, we knew we would face a monster again. We knew everything about him but we did not expect him to behave like he did in the ring.
Pride: How is Rodrigo doing now mentally?
Sperry: He is doing alright. He understands that he did his best. He trained a lot. I think he's pretty relaxed because he did everything he could. This year, we are going to come up with new strategy and try to improve. Maybe we'll get another chance and see what's going to happen.
Pride: Any surprises up your sleeve? Any new chokes?
Sperry: There is always new stuff. BTT is a funny place. There're so many guys and everyday I learn a new thing. That's why I love that thing. We have a fat guy, a small guy, a tall guy, a young guy, an old guy, a guy who has a good guard, a guy who doesn't do a good guard but passes the guard very well, strong takedowns, weak takedowns but good guard. We have all kinds.
Pride: How many people do you have?
Sperry: Professional? About 35 or 40.
Pride: Fighting?
Sperry: Yes. We have other guys that are not professionals. They come up just to help and train, like a hobby. Those guys are very good also. There is this guy, one of our corners, he's a lawyer but he's been training for 25 years. He knows a lot of positions, he trains everyday, he's in shape, so we exchange a lot of information. Every day I learn something.