WANDALEI SILVA AND DAN HENDERSON ARRIVED AT NARITA AIRPORT
12/28/2004

At 2pm on December 27th, Wanderlei Silva and Dan Henderson arrived at Narita Airport on the same plane. The two fighters, scheduled for different fights in the December 31st PRIDE 2004 SHOCKWAVE event, didn't talk at all during their flight. Are the two middleweight powerhouses already thinking about next year's planned Middleweight Grand Prix?

At 2pm on December 27th, Wanderlei Silva and Dan Henderson arrived at Narita Airport on the same plane. The two fighters, scheduled for different fights in the December 31st PRIDE 2004 SHOCKWAVE event, didn't talk at all during their flight. Are the two middleweight powerhouses already thinking about next year's planned Middleweight Grand Prix?

"I want Sakuraba to come out and cheer for me." (Silva)

Sakuraba's sudden withdrawal from the event hasn't affected the Middleweight Champion at all, "I wanted to fight Sakuraba. Honestly, I think it's unfortunately but there's nothing you can do about injuries. Let's do it next time," Silva sent a message to Sakuraba. "I want him to come out on New Year's Eve and watch my fight. I want him to cheer for me."

Silva said that he still doesn't know who will be his replacement opponent. However, he said, "Anyone is fine. That's for the promoter and my coach to decide." Silva again shows us that as long as he's in top condition, a change in opponent won't shake him up. Asked whether he'd fight a heavyweight opponent, he replied, "I'll leave that to the promoter and my coach." Asked if he could, what condition would he put on the selection, Silva answered, "I'm the (Middleweight) Champion so I want them to have an opponent suitable for a fight with the Champion."

Only a few days are left until the fight. There's no time left to study and train for a new opponent. Despite that, Silva believes that he will "beat anyone they send." Absolutely confident, Silva shows how a true Champion should be.

"I want to knock out Kondo faster than Silva." (Henderson)

"I want it to end the same way as when Kondo fought Silva." Dan Henderson appeared before the reporters with a smile and full of confidence about how his fight with Kondo will turn out.

"I feel great and I'm in good condition. Kondo is a tough, all-round fighter. I don't see any weak points. I don't see any particularly strong points, either. I think he has a strong heart," Henderson commented, possibly revealing that he thinks he's technically superior.

 

 

 

Henderson has long held the position of "middleweight gate keeper." Despite fans believing that there's no one that can beat Silva except for Henderson, Henderson's opponent this time will be Kondo, who fought Silva in August, setting the stage for a rivalry between Henderson and Silva. "Will I knock out Kondo faster than Silva? Of course, I've been thinking about that." However, Henderson isn't looking completely past Kondo, "Kondo is an all-round fighter so it's definitely going to be a tough fight. I want to win, even if it's by decision." If Henderson loses to Kondo, Henderson chances at a rematch with Silva will become much smaller. Victory is his passport to a fight with the Champion.

Henderson also gave us some information about Rulon Gardner, who trained with Henderson and will face Hidehiko Yoshida. "I can't say much because he also has to fight. It's a secret. What I can tell you is that he is 300 lbs but he can move quickly, he has power and his punches are incredible. He hasn't had much MMA training but he absorbs everything quickly." Additionally, UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion, and fellow Team Quest member, Randy Couture came to Japan in support of Henderson and Gardner.