Four new matches for the July17th PRIDE BUSHIDO VOL. 8 event, to be held at the Nagoya Rainbow Hall, were announced at a Tokyo press conference in the Dream Stage Entertainment office on June 15th. Many eyes are on the 83kg ace Ryo Chonan. Reporters' questions at the conference focused on Chonan and PRIDE General Director Nobuhiko Takada threw a little encouragement him way.

Despite his win against Nino Schembri on May 22 at the Ariake Coliseum, Chonan's fight was the least impressive of the four kings of BUSHIDO. Regretting that, according to Chonan was the reason that he shaved his head the next day.

On July 17th, Chonan will face Baroni, who just came off a KO victory over Minowa on May 22nd. "He's twice, maybe three times bigger than me," Chonan said. "I'm going to put pressure on him, though. He's a little different than the kind of fighters I've faced up until now so it's exciting for me, too. I'm not going to fight him in a test of strength. If he comes at me with a lot of power, I will parry and attack him when I see any opportunity. A fight isn't just a comparison of strength. There is also technique. I want to face him head-on but I want it to be a technical fight, too," Chonan continued, deciding the theme for his fight will be "strength vs. skill."

Chonan has apparently been thinking about the UFC, as well, "If I win this fight, I think the American fighting fans will learn my name and I might be able to fight with someone from the UFC's champion class."

A lot of responsibility comes with such grand expectations. Whether Chonan wants it or not, the fans are always looking at him as an "ace." "The situation before the last event has changed," PRIDE General Director Nobuhiko Takada commented. "The fighters' faces have changed and Japan's toughest fighters have all gathered in BUSHIDO. It was just Chonan and Gomi before but now, a lot of tough fighters have appeared, looking to take their spots." These two fighters have been the stars until now but it won't be so easy from now on. It's no longer the age of Chonan and Gomi in BUSHIDO. It has become an all-out war.

"Even so, both we and the fans have high hopes for him," Takada continued, encouraging the 83kg ace. "He has always lived up to our expectations until now and he will have to continue living up to them. That's the role of the top fighter, the face of the event. We want to have hopes for him and we want him to live up to them."