Pre-fight interviews with Antonio "Minotauro" Nogueira is now available online.




Pride Fighting Championships: Are you getting restless now?
Antonio Nogueira: Yeah, I'm ready to fight. I'm very excited. I always come to Japan one week before. Everyday I get more restless. Now, it's getting close so I'm very excited.
PRIDE: Any new tricks? The last fight you worked from the guard.
Nogueira: I have to do everything different from the last fight. I have to work on my throws and my boxing and escaping from the high-kick. It's a totally different opponent. I change my style for each opponent. I like that. Every time I face someone who has a different technique, I improve my techniques one by one.
PRIDE: Are you training with Peter Aerts?
Nogueira: Yeah, sometimes when I go to Holland but not for this fight. He was training for K-1.
PRIDE: Since you mentioned the left high kick, everybody knows to watch out for it but everybody still gets hit by it.
Nogueira: Yeah. I think you cannot stop in front of him in kicking range. He's a very smart guy. He moves well. I have to move before he does.
PRIDE: Did you have someone to train with particularly for that?
Nogueira: Yeah, I had 2 or 3 left-handed guys who are good at Muay Thai. Of course, I don't think they are as good as Mirko but they can help me. I doubt he had a good ground sparring partner like me, as well.
PRIDE: It must be hard to duplicate his quickness when sparring.
Nogueira: Yeah, it's difficult. Everyday I train on escaping from the left kick. Like, 200 times a day. We've got some good guys and I've improved. If I keep my right hand up and keep moving to his side, I will be okay.
PRIDE: What about his middle kick? I've heard that Mirko doesn't decide where his kick will go until about halfway through.
Nogueira: Yeah, he's very strong.
PRIDE: The way he sets it up, you can't tell whether it's going to be the middle or the head.
Nogueira: It's very difficult to predict his kick. That's why I have to control the fight.
PRIDE: If that's his surprise, that you don't know where the kick is going, what surprise will you have for him? Something that looks like you are going to do one thing but you actually do something else?
Nogueira: Well, we never put on a submission. We always do something else to set up a submission. You've got to have something else. You've got to fake before you do a submission.
PRIDE: One thing that is a mystery about Mirko is his ability on the ground. Do you have any idea? No one has put him on the ground recently.
Nogueira: He's been on the ground in a couple of fights. He's got very strong legs so he can escape. He opens up the guard to push the guy away. I've never seen his submissions but he can move well. Nobody can hold him and I think he's very comfortable. He's had some guys that threw him but they didn't know how to control him on the ground. They gave him too much space.
PRIDE: You think if you don't give him space, you can keep him down?
Nogueira: Of course. I think I'm better than him on the ground.
PRIDE: I'd like to see you end it with a high kick. The whole world would go wild. Vegas would go crazy.