Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira arrives in Japan, prepared for cold weather and his opponent in the 2004 New Year's Eve event, PRIDE SHOCKWAVE, Fedor Emelianenko.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira arrives in Japan, prepared for cold weather and his opponent in the 2004 New Year's Eve event, PRIDE SHOCKWAVE, Fedor Emelianenko.

Arriving one hour later than scheduled, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira emerged from the airplane wearing a light jacket, looking weary and wearing bed-hair from the long flight, but Nogueira himself laughingly said that he was full of energy. "I've flown on many long flights so I'm used to it." Most of the questions from reporters were about Japan's cold weather. The weather plays a big part in a fighter's conditioning and compared to Fedor, coming from Russia, some suspect that the difference between Japan and Brazil could adversely affect Nogueira.

"I'm in perfect condition," Nogueira commented, explaining his early arrival. "My biggest worry now is the difference in Japan and Brazil's weather. I came early to adjust to the weather here. I think I will get used to it because there are still a few days until the fight. Actually, I will be fine even if it gets colder. Recently, I always arrive 10 days before my fights. It seems to be the best. The jetlag disappears in about 4~5 days and I can get back in my best condition but it's better to have extra time, just in case. That's why I come 10 days before the match, especially this time. It's the Heavyweight title match, an important fight." Even Nogueira admitted that Fedor "probably has a little advantage", in terms of adjusting to the cold. However, "That's not going to be a problem because I have trained very hard for this," Nogueira continued. "That's why I've come to Japan early."

It's been 4 months since the Final Round of the PRIDE Grand Prix was declared a no-contest. "I've been training in everything. I'm faster on the ground, and standing, than I was before. I'm in good shape." Nogueira continued when asked about the elbow he had planned on getting surgery on, "It's no problem. I rested a little after the last fight and it healed."

It seems that the mental-training for this fight was tougher than the physical-side. "It was tough to get my mind back in gear. Honestly, I thought that the August fight would be the last one in 2004. I want to beat Fedor though, and I've got my mind set on giving the fans a good fight."




Nogueira also said that he has a new technique to replace the spinning-choke. "I use a lot of different techniques in my daily training. If I get a chance this time, I will use them. This fight will be won by whoever is better prepared. This will be a battle between the 2 highest skilled fighters in the world. I won't let the fans down." In addition to a prediction of a technical battle, Nogueira feels that the fight has already began with their conditioning.

Although Nogueira laughed and said that he wants to take a long break after this fight is over, he also said that when he becomes the (Heavyweight) Champion again, he would train hard and defend his title. Additionally, Nogueira revealed his plans for a brother-and-brother takeover of PRIDE, "I think Rogerio (Nogueira) will fight in next year's Middleweight Grand Prix. I want to train with him so he can become the (Middleweight Grand Prix) Champion."