We caught up with Dan Henderson and Murilo Bustamante to ask them their thoughts and feelings on their upcoming December 31st fights at PRIDE SHOCKWAVE 2005, to be held at Saitama Super Arena.

Dan Henderson:
Japan is very cold but I'm okay. I went out a little last night but I'm trying to stay in the hotel as much as possible. I'm ready. My conditioning is good and my training went very well. I didn't train with Randy Couture this time but I did train with Brian Foster and Matt Lindland. I also trained with (Ryo) Chonan. Chonan is a tough fighter. He came to Team Quest to make himself a better fighter but it also made me a better fighter. I think we both got good training from that. Chonan has some good techniques on the ground and I learned some fine points from him. And leg-locks.

I saw Bustamante's Opening Round fight in the Grand Prix and he didn't seem any different than before. He's tough and balanced. He's strong standing and of course he's strong on the ground. I don't intend to put myself in a position to lose, though.

Even though he's moved to the Welterweight division, he's still the same fighter. So am I. I can fight with confidence and I'm strong, so we both continue to win. I'm not confident because I won the last time, though. Even if this was our first time to face each other, I would be confident. If you're not confident, you shouldn't fight.

The last fight with Bustamante ended quickly and we couldn't get a feel for each other. It would be good if this fight ends quickly too but even if it goes to the ground and Bustamante gets the top position, I'm confident I can change the flow. I don't really need a strategy. I will be fine no matter what happens. I will KO Bustamante.

I've got some good submissions too, so beating him by submission is one option for me. My main strength is knockout power though and that's basically what I will be going after. I feel a little stronger about this fight than usual because the belt is on the line. I always feel that I want to win for myself though, so in that sense, this fight is no different.

Will I go back to the Middleweight division if I become the Welterweight Champion? That is my plan but I'm concentrating on my fight with Bustamante first so interview me again after the fight is over. (laughing)




Murilo Bustamante:
I can't wait for this fight. I came to Japan early and have done some comprehensive training in Japan, so my condition is perfect. This is a chance that I have been waiting on, so I'm very motivated. When I saw the belt at the signing ceremony, I didn't know what to say. I felt satisfied and happy. I knew that I would wear that belt.

I checked Dan Henderson's Opening Round fight. There was no particular change in fighting style from before but he seems to have improved many aspects of his techniques. I have studied him for this fight however, and I have a plan. I will be careful of Henderson's punches and go after a KO or a submission in the fight.

I sparred with Rogerio and Arona, who have beaten Henderson in the past, and they gave me advice. I came up with a plan after talking with them. If I follow my plan, Henderson will be knocked out or submitted by me. However, you never know how a fight will turn out. Henderson has a lot of experience and he's tough. I'm certain it will be an intense fight. Even so, I will keep attacking and hope to win.

Am I still mad about the results of our last fight? Yes, I still don't agree with the results (*Bustamante claims he was head-butted and that's the reason he lost). It's a fight though, so sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. It's not that I don't agree with the fact that I lost. I don't agree with the way that I lost. I don't agree that it should have ended by an accident. For me, I consider this to be the continuation of our first match and an opportunity for us to settle this. I want to have a good fight and do my best so that kind of accident doesn't happen again.