I think it's an honor to be chosen as one of the top 8 fighters in the world. -Arona

I feel very honored to represent my country and my team. I think winning our way to the 2nd Round and fighting good fights proved that we are the highest-level fighters in the world. - Nogueira




Pride Fighting Championships: How do you feel now that you've won your way to the 2nd Round?
Ricardo Arona: I think it's an honor to be chosen as one of the top 8 fighters in the world.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira: I feel very honored to represent my country and my team. I think winning our way to the 2nd Round and fighting good fights proved that we are the highest-level fighters in the world.
Pride: Ricardo, a lot of attention has been paid to your grappling match with Lister. What do you think of Lister's grappling?
Arona: I expected my ground fight with Lister to be difficult. I think it's unfortunate that I wasn't able to win by KO or by submission, though..
Pride: Was your plan before the fight to beat him with strikes?
Arona: Yes, exactly. I was looking for a KO while we were standing. Lister has ground skills so it was possible that I could have be submitted. I was careful of Lister's leg locks while we were fighting and the ground fighting didn't have much excitement.
Pride: Rogerio, many people expected you and Dan Henderson to go to the decision. How do you feel about being able to submit him in your match?
Nogueira: First, I'm very happy that I was able to win in that fight. I'm always looking for a submission or KO, not a decision, no matter who I fight. Henderson is a very high-level fighter so I had to be very aware of how he moved during the fight.
Pride: Henderson looked like his stamina was running out in the beginning. Did you think so, too?
Nogueira: I think Henderson was planning on rushing me and winning in the beginning. I was able to avoid that, though, and hit him with 2 or 3 punches. That's probably why he ran out of strength. I was able to attack while Henderson was tired and get his arm (for the submission).
Pride: Who surprised you the most out of the other 6 matches?
Nogueira: Vovchanchyn really surprised me. I didn't think he had that much ground technique in his previous fights but he showed incredible technique on the ground against Kondo. Also, Shogun and Alistair.
Arona: Vovchanchyn surprised me, too. Honestly, I really thought that Vitor would win against Alistair. Shogun really left an impression on me. Quinton unfortunately broke his rib early in the fight but I think it was still an entertaining match.
Pride: What do you think caused Vitor, your old-teammate, to lose?
Nogueira: I think it was a strategy mistake for Vitor. After Vitor was hit by Alistair's strikes and fell down, he tried to stand up right away but he should have been defending then. Alistair won 4 consecutive matches by guillotine in the Abu-Dhabi preliminaries. Alistair was waiting for Vitor to try and stand up and Vitor made a mistake when he tried to get the takedown. There were only 30 seconds remained so if he had just held guard position and defended well, he could have taken it to the next round.
Arona: Vitor was probably dazed from getting hit with Alistair's knee. The fight might have turned out differently if he would defended for 30 seconds and controlled him breathing until the next round.
Pride: One of you will probably have to face Wanderlei Silva before you can become the Champion. Are you doing any Silva-specific training?
Nogueira: Of course. Winning is the ultimate objective in every sport. If you think you are going to lose, it's better not to fight at all. The most important thing in fighting is the mental side. You create a goal and then you have to concentrate on that goal when you fight. The fight is decided by whether you have that feeling or not. If I fight Silva, it won't be different than fighting anyone else. I will fight the same way that I fought against Henderson.
Arona: A fight with Silva, for me, would be the best. I think it would be the perfect fight. I don't think I'm technically inferior to Silva and if we are going to face each other, I will have a game plan. I don't think Silva is as strong as everyone says. I definitely think he's a good fighter and a warrior but I also think I'm a fighter good enough to not lose to Silva. If I fight Silva, I'm confident I will win.
Pride: It looks like your will be fighting Sakuraba.
Arona: I challenged Sakuraba 3 or 4 years ago. Sakuraba was taking out the Gracie's at the time. I saw him taking out these jiu-jitsu fighters and I wanted to protect jiu-jitsu. I also wanted to fight Sakuraba for the Brazilian Top Team. I still feel the same way that I did then.
Pride: What kind of personalities do you normally have?
Arona: Rogerio has a very relaxed personality. He fights about 3 times per year. Although he really has enough time to take a vacation and relax, Rogerio is always training. I heard that he goes out on dates in his free time, though. (laughing)
Nogueira: Arona is one of my best friends and a best friend to my brother, Rogerio. Arona always spars with us before our big fights and gives us a lot of advice. He encourages us by phone, too, and he's a really great guy. Also, Arona lives a very healthy life. He surfs at the beach and does sports outdoors on his days off. He doesn't go out much at night. He leads a great life as a sportsman.