INTERVIEW WITH KAZUSHI SAKURABA
09/06/2003

A press conference was held today in Takada Dojo, the first for Kazushi Sakuraba since his battle at PRIDE "Total Elimination 2003". Sakuraba seemed to be in good shape and went through his match against Silva again with a smile.

 

       

 

Pride Fighting Championships: What do you think about your fight?
Kazushi Sakuraba: I punched too much (laughing). He was able to get out of my takedowns so I was looking for a way to break his rhythm...
PRIDE: He didn't have any weaknesses?
Sakuraba: He didn't come straight out like he usually does. He would get away from all my takedowns so I thought if I punched him, he might come forward...
PRIDE: Do you remember when you were hit?
Sakuraba: I don't remember talking to Silva in the ring or even the ride home after the fight.
PRIDE: What about the hospital?
Sakuraba: I went the next day.
PRIDE: When did you realize that you had lost?
Sakuraba: When my memory started coming back to me. After the fight, I kept asking everyone what day of the month it was. Every time they would say "August 10th", I was say "what about the fight with Silva? I lost?" I saw the actual fight when I went home and watched the television broadcast.
PRIDE: You had a towel on your head when you left the ring.
Sakuraba: I think (Daijiro) Matsui put that on me. I don't really remember. I was told that Silva kept calling me his friend when we hugged after the fight. (laughing).
PRIDE: You would think that he hates you.
Sakuraba: Probably. I'm really sad (probably).
PRIDE: Have you gotten over the shock from your loss?
Sakuraba: Yeah. It wasn't like last time.
PRIDE: So, Silva was ready for your takedowns?
Sakuraba: I thought so at the time. He normally comes right out front but he didn't do that at all.
PRIDE: Tell us about your weight gain?
Sakuraba: I was able to push off of him when we were in the clinch. I could really feel the extra power I had from gaining weight.
PRIDE: Were you able to see his punches?
Sakuraba: I saw them but I took a few too many. I was able to land a few punches as well.
PRIDE: When will you start training again?
Sakuraba: I started weights again a couple of days after the fight. Only weights because my leg hurts. I'm lifting now so I'll be able to fight in the heavyweight tournament. (laughing).
PRIDE: What about your return match?
Sakuraba: If DSE puts it together, it will be soon. If not, it won't be.
PRIDE: Within this year?
Sakuraba: I don't know yet.
PRIDE: There are fights in October and November.
Sakuraba: Well, I can't fight in November because I lost the opening round, of course.
PRIDE: Maybe a special match.
Sakuraba: With Silva? (laughing) If I can, I'll fight again this year. If I can't I won't. I'll leave it up to fate.
PRIDE: Silva said he wouldn't mind fighting a 4th time.
Sakuraba: I always feel like I can beat him but I never do. It's a lot of fun to fight with Silva because of the danger. I'd like to fight him 4 or 5 times if I could.
PRIDE: Who would you fight in heavyweight?
Sakuraba: Nobody. If I said a name now, they might actually put that fight together (laughing). It's happened before...
PRIDE: What did you think of the other Grand Prix fights when you saw them on TV?
Sakuraba: Alistair's fight was close. I asked Minoru (Toyonaga, the referee for the Alistair/Liddell fight) and he said that Alistair's knees were really hurting Liddell.
PRIDE: Would you like to fight Alistair?
Sakuraba: No. He's not my type. He comes in kicking with a really odd timing.
PRIDE: What about Yoshida vs. Tamura?
Sakuraba: It was before my fight so I watched it backstage. It was okay.
PRIDE: Silva didn't have much of a weight advantage over you this time.
Sakuraba: I had Matsui put his foot on the scale during weigh-ins (laughing). I'm about 89-91 kilos now. I eat a lot at breakfast.
PRIDE: Are you always going to be a middleweight?
Sakuraba: No, next year I'll be a heavyweight. (laughing).
PRIDE: There's been talk of you headlining the Las Vegas event.
Sakuraba: If that's the way it is, that's the way it will be. I want to make my comeback in PRIDE. If it's in Las Vegas, I'd like to go as a second. (laughing).
PRIDE: What about being the PRIDE representative in the UFC?
Sakuraba: Being a "representative" is too much trouble.
PRIDE: Okay, not being a representative.
Sakuraba: (laughing) I really haven't though about it. I want to continue to fight in PRIDE and make PRIDE better.
PRIDE: Mirko (Filipovic) said that he would like to train with you.
Sakuraba: It's too far away. I don't even know where Croatia is. Besides, Mirko is huge and he'd crush me. No thanks.
PRIDE: He's probably sad to hear that.
Sakuraba: I'd want to beat Silva with a submission so I'm not sure what I'd get out of training with Mirko... Where is Croatia? Europe? That's really, really far away. I really respect him for traveling so far to Japan. The Brazilian fighters too. They come all the way around the earth. Central Japan is about my limit.
PRIDE: What do you think you were missing in your fight?
Sakuraba: A little bit of everything.
PRIDE: How about your special training? Are you going to do it again?
Sakuraba: If I say it was great, they'll make me do it again (laughing). I don't want to do it soon but maybe once every few years.
PRIDE: Did you ever have an opportunity to beat Silva?
Sakuraba: I had a few chances to take him down but I thought I'd try and strike with him a little.
PRIDE: Before the fight, you said that there wouldn't be a 4th fight? Really?
Sakuraba: Maybe we will (laughing). I said that? If he'll do it, I'd like to fight him again. You've got to take what I say with a grain of salt (laughing).
PRIDE: Any words for Yoshida, the only Japanese fighter left in the Grand Prix?
Sakuraba: Do your best.