We caught up with Yuki Kondo and Kazuhiro Nakamura to ask them their thoughts and feelings on their upcoming December 31st fights at PRIDE SHOCKWAVE 2005, to be held at Saitama Super Arena.

Kazuhiro Nakamura:

Pedro Rizzo came to Japan on a flight yesterday. I plan on having him as a corner man, so that's reassuring. I really learned a lot from him. He's good at applying pressure, and his low and knee kicks are amazing. His grappling is also great. I was impressed when I went to Brazil for the first time in March of this year.

I don't think Kondo is someone I will lose to. My best impression of him is when he fought Mario Sperry 2 years ago but other than that, I don't have any impression. (laughing) I felt that I would probably face him eventually since the Grand Prix this year. There aren't many people in the Middleweight division so it was like we were both on a mission to take out the tough foreign fighters. I still feel that way.

This match will decide the Japanese rankings? I'm glad you think so. Kondo has a long career and it's been 3 years already since I came to PRIDE, so I believe that this fight will decide who is the strongest in Japan. I believe so. I'm not looking at Japan, though. I'm looking at the world.

I know that Kondo is an unusual fighter and I will be okay no matter what comes at me. I have to be careful of flying knees but Rizzo is better at knees. Everyone said that I will win but I don't think it will be that easy. He's not the kind of guy to have a broken spirit, so I want to break his spirit. I want to attack him so hard that his "immoveable spirit" is broken.

He has an immoveable spirit. I have a playful spirit. (laughing) Kondo may not move much because of his immoveable spirit but I quickly get attracted to new things.

I went overseas several times this year and it was good. I'm happy that Hunt is coming this time, too. I trained for the Middleweight Grand Prix. I think that going to Brazil in April this year was the real beginning. Until then, I just did martial arts in my own way. My way of thinking has changed now, so this is only the beginning for me.

I will pressure Kondo's immoveable spirit with attacks. I have the skills to trade strikes and I'm confident. It would have been scary 1 or 2 years ago but I have confidence now. I finally feel confident in PRIDE.

I hope Yoshida Dojo will have all wins on New Year's Eve. Otherwise, our New Year's party won't be fun. I will show a different strength than last time. Obrigado! (laughing)




Yuki Kondo:

I'm really looking forward to this. I'm excited. My conditioning is also really good. I'm satisfied with my condition. Strategy... I don't have any. I watched a lot of videos, though.
I thought that Nakamura was a grappler but he has beautiful strikes. In that sense, I think they will be easier to defend. He doesn't have any strange punches, so they are easy to avoid and it's easier to counter.

This fight will decide the strongest Japanese middleweight? I don't think so. If I beat Nakamura, I think I will be close to being the strongest but there are many other fighters, right? Sakuraba. Yoshida. Takimoto. Kikuta. Nakamura is just one of those fighters.

I'm on the edge but it's very bright. (laughing) I don't feel any heavy burdens. Nakamura said that he's going to break my spirit? I will lose if it's broken but if it's not broken, I won't lose. I hope it will be a striking battle. That's where I'm most confident. I want to fight with punches and kicks. My flying knees have become rusty lately. (laughing) I'm a little worried about it, so I don't think I will use flying knees this time. I can't rely on them.

I think I've grown in many areas. I think you'll see that when you watch the fight. I'm motivated to fight on New Year's Eve. I think it's a wonderful stage. I'm not concerned about the other Japanese matches. I just want to make my own fight great. I feel strongly about that. I want to have the greatest fight that is possible for me. I want to have a good fight and I want to win. That's all.