Pride Fighting Championships interviewed Rulon Gardner in advance of his match against fellow Olympic Gold Medalist, Hidehiko Yoshida, in the December 31st PRIDE SHOCKWAVE.




Pride Fighting Championships: What did you think of PRIDE 28 on October 31st?
Rulon Gardner: Honestly, I was surprised. I think it takes a lot of guts to keep going forward and fighting on that high-level. I think it's a high-level of competition where you have to discover your opponent's weak points as you're fighting him and attack there to win. You've got many different types of fighters in MMA, such as grapplers and strikers, but I think this event was well balanced and everyone used their skills well.
Pride: When did you begin MMA training?
Gardner: From November, when I began to think about fighting. I train over-all,without just focusing on striking or groundwork.
Pride: Which fight left the greatest impression?
Gardner: Mark Hunt's fight. He was in trouble during the fight but he won by a KO punch in the end, right? I really felt how much skill he had during that fight. I also thin Henderson and Silva's fights were good. I'll say it again but finding your opponent's weak spot, as you fight him, and then winning is very difficult. That's the kind of MMA fighter I want to become. I was very inspired by PRIDE 28.
Pride: Have you known about PRIDE for a long time?
Gardner: Yes, I watched it on TV. I've been watching MMA events for a long time where wrestlers were fighting, not just PRIDE. However, I had only seen it on TV so I had never experienced the feeling of being at the event. This time I felt the reality of it as I watched it live.
Pride: When you watched it on TV, did you think that you wanted to try it?
Gardner: I was interested but I hadn't thought about actually getting into the ring. I didn't know much about MMA itself and I'm only learning about how much potential I have, and how far I can go, right now. I think it's a big chance to chase a dream.
Pride: When did you first become interested in MMA?
Gardner: I began training with Dan Severn, Mark Coleman, Mark Kerr and Don Frye in 1996 and they told me that I could do well in MMA.
Pride: With who, and how, are you training now?
Gardner: I train with a lot of different people in San Diego. I'm training in judo, striking and grappling in preparation for New Year's Eve.
Pride: What do you think about striking?
Gardner: There are a lot of good strikers like Dan Henderson and Randy Couture so I am getting a lot of good training. It's true that I'm a little nervous about striking, though. I'm a little nervous about hitting with my fists. I will overcome it before the fight.