HAYATO "MACH" SAKURAI INTERVIEW
10/12/2004

Hayato "Mach" Sakurai has been slated to take on the newest Gracie, Crosley, on 10/14 in PRIDE BUSHIDO 5, to be held at Osaka Castle Hall. After losing a decision to Rodrigo Gracie in BUSHIDO 2, it seems that Mach has found a new state of mind and has a lot of tough words.

 

       

 

Pride Fighting Championships: You were dressed up at the press conference. That's rare.
Hayato Sakurai: This fight is a jihad for me. I'm volunteering to be a suicide bomber.
Pride: That's some tough talk. Won't you die if you too if you are a suicide bomber?
Sakurai: I'm not thinking about myself. I just have to do it. If I think about myself, I'll worry about myself, right? I've stopped worrying about myself and am only thinking about attacking.
Pride: Since when did you start thinking like that?
Sakurai: Since the last time (7/19 Nagoya). I've been doing martial arts for 11 years. I don't know if I've progressed or regressed. I've probably become lower as a human and higher as a competitor.
Pride: What does that mean?
Sakurai: You not usually supposed to use words like suicide bomber. That's the way I feel, though. I think it's the right thing, as a fighter.
Pride: I think I understand... maybe. What do you think about Crosley Gracie?
Sakurai: His striking looks good. Of course, his groundwork is probably good. He's tall and probably active.
Pride: What looks good in his striking?
Sakurai: His hook. I think we will have a good standup fight. If I get knocked down, that's okay. Everyone would like that kind of fight, right? I've never been knocked down in a fight.
Pride: So, it's kill or be killed.
Sakurai: Yes. I don't know how long I will feel like this.
Pride: Osaka is also the first place that you lost a pro fight.
Sakurai: Osaka's never good to me. I think it's about time that I get rid of that jinx. I never really think about it, though. Only because you brought it up.
Pride: You're different now?
Sakurai: I don't know how long I will feel like this but this time is definitely different.
Pride: Crosley is the cousin of Rodrigo Gracie, whom you lost to by decision at BUSHIDO 2. What do you think about that?
Sakurai: I guess Rodrigo is telling him to fight like that. Don't take any risks and only worry about winning.
Pride: And, what if he fights like Rodrigo?
Sakurai: Then Osaka Castle hall will be silent for 15 minutes. (laughing) He says ???ring it on' but he never brings it.
Pride: Well, there's always the strategy that Sakuraba used against Royce, not playing your opponent's game at all.
Sakurai: That worked because it was Royce. The newer generation of Gracies can strike too, not just grapple, and they are well balanced. Of course, I don't plan on playing his game. I can play it but I won't let him walk over me.
Pride: Is Crosley different from past Gracies?
Sakurai: They are all different. They are all different from Royler or Rickson's generation. The Gracies are evolving. That has nothing to do with me, though. My feelings inside are definitely different.
Pride: What do you think about Gomi being in the main event?
Sakurai: He should be there because he won his last 3 fights. I'd like to have a good fight this time so it'll be a smooth transition into Gomi's fight. If I'm still alive. (laughing) I fight like I'm going to die. That's the truth.
Pride: Do you regret that he got the main position before you?
Sakurai: I'd like to fight in the main event in BUSHIDO at least once but I've fought in many main events before. You know, you have to wait a really long time. That's why I'd rather fight in the first match. (laughing) After I finish, I'll watch the other fights and go home as quickly as possible. If I can pass the baton to Gomi on an upbeat this time, that'll be great. We are both from Kiguchi Dojo, after all.
Pride: You seem different this time.
Sakurai: I don't know if my match will be different this time but my feelings inside are definitely different. It's like an eagerness to fight.