INTERVIEW WITH WANDERLEI SILVA
05/03/2004

Finally, the match that fans have waited for has been put together. Yuki Kondo will face Wanderlei Silva in the May 23 PRIDE Bushido 3 event at Yokohama Arena. Wanderlei gave us an exclusive interview immediately following the announcement.

 

       

 

P ride Fighting
Championships : How do you feel now that your fight with Yuki Kondo (Pancrase) has been decided?
Wanderlei Silva : I'm happy. I knew that he wanted to challenge me before and I'm happy that it will happen. The only thing left now is to see whether he will be too scared to get in the ring on the day of the fight.
Pride : You look like you get angry when people challenge you.
Silva : It looks like I get angry, doesn't it? The truth is that I'm really happy to be challenged. Being challenged raises my motivation.
Pride : On the other hand, do you respect the courage that it takes to challenge you?
Silva : Of course, I respect that courage but I'm the Champion and imagine that every middleweight fighter wants to challenge me.
Pride : Have you seen Kondo fight?
Silva : No. That's not just him, though. I never study my opponent before a fight. I'm not going to watch his videos this time, either. I've seen his pictures in magazines, though.
Pride : Did you know that Kondo has beaten some strong Brazilian fighters, such as Ribeiro and Dantas?
Silva : No, I didn't know that. I only head his name after he beat Mario.
Pride : So, you don't know anything about him?
Silva : I know that he beat Mario and I've heard he's a strong fighter. I also know that the Japanese fans are looking forward to seeing Kondo fight.
Pride : Kono has very good striking. He knocked Tito Ortiz down with a flying knee and also KO'd Kikuta.
Silva : The only thing in my mind is that I want to show the fans a great fight. If Kondo wants to have a standing war, it's fine with me. I definitely want Kondo to give me the best striking he's got.
Pride : He also TKO'd Ono, the fighter that Shogun fought in Bushido.
Silva : Then he must be strong. Now I'm looking forward to fighting him.
Pride : Do you know anything about the Pancrase organization?
Silva : Yes, I saw them when my teammate, Nilson de Castro, fought there. I think it was a really good event. There are similar events in Brazil and I was surprised to see so many fighters that will be strong in the future.
Pride : What can Kondo do to make the fight better on May 23?
Silva : I want him to work on his striking. I don't think the fans want to see a fight with no movement. Fighting on the ground is interesting but they won't like it if he stalls. I want to get the fans excited by fighting on our feet. In that sense, I think Yoshida was good last year. I know Yoshida didn't have much experience in striking but he came out and traded and I think that made it a very interesting match. I'd like to have another fight like that and excite the fans.
Pride : You've fought a lot of Japanese fighters. Is there anything common among them?
Silva : They've all got guts.
Pride : Who was the toughest opponent among all the Japanese fighters you've faced?
Silva : Sakuraba. Honestly, I respect Sakuraba both as a human and for his technique. He was the toughest fighter.
Pride : Since you've beaten so many strong Japanese fighters, don't you get tired of facing them?
Silva : I don't feel that way at all. I think I was the first foreign fighter to rise to this position after beating Sakuraba. That makes them want to take me down even more. And, this is Japan , after all, so it's natural that they want a Japanese fighter to win. Recently there have been more fans cheering for me, even if my opponent is Japanese, and that makes me really happy. I can fight like I'm in my home country.
Pride : So, if a Japanese challenger appears, you'll accept?
Silva : Of course. I think the reason that I fight so many Japanese fighters is because that's what the promoters want. I've already said that I will fight anyone. I've never chose my opponent even once. My style, Chute Boxe's style is a new, unique style in vale tudo. It's aggressive and it's a style that makes the fights interesting. If PRIDE and the fans want it, I'll take on anyone with this style, even a Japanese fighter.
Pride : Since you and the other Chute Boxe fighters never watch your opponents' videos or otherwise study them before the fights, doesn't that make you nervous?
Silva : Not at all. Everybody on the team, including myself, practices very hard and is prepared to respond to anyone in any situation. On the other hand, I think that if you know that your opponent is good at this and this, you'll focus too much on that and that's not good. I believe that it's better to go into the fight without those feelings.
Pride : I just thought it might be easier for you to fight if you knew what kind of fighting style your opponent has before the fight.
Silva : You can't imagine how a fight is going to play out and it's never going to go exactly as you might plan. Fighting without knowing anything about my opponent allows me to fight with all my power and give everyone a good show.
Pride : Do Fujimar and your other coaches train you after having seen the opponent's videos?
Silva : I've never asked them so I don't know for certain but the training does change a little for each fight. Basically, it's the same thing, though. We train hard, regardless of the type of fight, and train in detail. I think of Chute Boxe as a martial arts university. The younger members are all talented and if I get the chance, I want to help them fight a lot in Japan . Ninja and Shogun have a little brother, Shaolin, that's just 18 but he's big and strong and he'll eventually fight in Japan .
Pride : I see. Finally, a word to Kondo, please.
Silva : This will probably be a fight where I can show Chute Boxe's strength. Fighting with us is not simple and it will be very hard for him. I'll beat you down, just like you want. I know you're going to have trouble sleeping from now on but I expect that you'll come out swinging.
Pride : You're going to beat Kondo down?
Silva : I'm going to aim for his eyes when I punch. I'll make his eyebrows swell up. This fight will sell out soon so you'd better buy tickets fast if you want to see it. (laughing) I'm already at 100% so this will definitely be a great fight.