MURILO "NINJYA" RUA WILL FACE OFF AGAINST MURAD CHUNKAIEV
10/21/2005

Murilo "Ninja" Rua, accompanied by his brother and Middleweight Grand Prix Champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, arrived at Narita Airport on the afternoon of October 19 th . Ninja will face off against Murad Chunkaiev in PRIDE 30 FULLY LOADED on October 23 rd at Saitama Super Arena.

"I'm a little tired from the long trip from Brazil. I want rest at my hotel today but I'll train hard from tomorrow."

Although he looked tired, Ninja was ready to go, delivering the usual Chute Boxe victory declaration, "I've trained really hard this time, so my condition is good. I'm certain that I will win."

Asked about Chunkaiev, Ninja replied in classic Chute Boxe style, "I've seen 2 or 3 videos of him. I heard he was training with a team in Holland. It doesn't matter who my opponent is, though. Whoever it is, I just want to give a good fight in PRIDE."

"I heard the theme for this event is Starting Over [in Japan]. I think that I will be starting over in this fight, too. I've trained very hard for this fight and I will do my best to give a great fight."

Ninja must be happy that his brother Shogun dominated the Middleweight Grand Prix but being passed over must be motivating for him, as well. Although he lost to Jackson by a slim margin, Shogun beat Jackson by KO. Ninja is looking to get his first win since February of last year, in order to save face as the older brother and to reduce the difference between him and his brother, in terms of rank.

"There's no pressure from Shogun winning the Middleweight Grand Prix. My brother becoming the Champion is a good incentive for me. I have to do my best." Ninja continued, hinting that he is considering fighting in BUSHIDO, "I'm at my best as a Middleweight so I'm not interested in fighting in next year's Heavyweight Grand Prix. If I had an offer from PRIDE though, I'd consider fighting as a Welterweight [83kg]."

Although there were 4 top Japanese fighters in the Welterweight Grand Prix, Dan Henderson and Murilo Bustamante advanced to the Final Round. If Ninja drops down to this class, the Welterweight division will probably become foreigner dominated, just like the Middleweight Division.

"We trained together on the ground and muay thai," Ninja commented on Sakuraba training with Chute Boxe. "I realized again how great a fighter Sakuraba is. We gave each other advice. Sakuraba's striking has really improved so I'm certain he will win this fight by KO."

Finally, Shogun commented, seemingly confident of his brother's victory, "Ninja is really impressive. He has trained very hard and I think he will be able to give the fans a great fight."