We interviewed Tank Abbot after his public training session in preparation for his August 28th bout against Hidehiko Yoshida at the PRIDE Grand Prix 2005 Final Round.




Pride Fighting Championships : What were you saying when you were hitting the sand bag earlier? It sounded like you were saying, "kill" each time you hit it.
Tank Abbot: (laughing) No, you misheard me. My breathing probably just sounded like that to you.
Pride: hat was your strategy?
Abbot: Not to get arm barred. That's a joke but I would have been okay no matter what. I'm confident standing and on the ground.
Pride: Okay, I see. (laughing) Getting right to the point, have you seen any PRIDE fights?
Abbot: Of course. I think that PRIDE is a great place where the world's best fighters fight. I think it's the closest to real fighting among all the organizations. The rules are strict in other places, right? And there are a lot of weight classes. Some of (the weight classes) look like they are adjusted just to create stars. PRIDE's not like that. That's why I wanted to fight.
Pride: How do you feel about fighting in PRIDE, considering that you've been a UFC fighter until now?
Abbot: I'm really looking forward to it because PRIDE is a new place to fight for me. I fought in UFC-J in Japan once before. You can expect a lot from me because I was waiting after that for a long time for the next chance.
Pride: Mark Coleman, a legendary fighter who also came from the UFC, hasn't done well in PRIDE recently. It seems like the current situation, not limited to Coleman, is that the American fighters aren't winning.
Abbot: Honestly, whether the Americans are winning or losing doesn't have anything to do with me. If I'm in shape, I'm confident I can beat any top fighter in the world. I'm going to be in top shape when I climb into the PRIDE ring. That's all I think about.
Pride: Even so, Kevin Randleman, Josh Barnett and the current Champion, Chuck Liddell, all originally UFC fighters, haven't been able to win in PRIDE recently. What do you think the problem is?
Abbot: Hmm, I don't know. Maybe it's just a simple lack of preparation.
Pride: Do you think there is any difference, in terms of the level of fighting, between the UFC and PRIDE?
Abbot: I don't know for certain. In PRIDE, though, there are a lot of opportunities to fight opponents that have as much skill as yourself, or maybe even more. That's probably the difference.
Pride: I see. You are often called a "brawler." Tell us something about your experience as a brawler."
Abbot: I've been fighting all my life. As far as I can remember, I started my life as a brawler when I was around 9 years old. My life as a brawler will last at least another 30 years. I've been boxing for 20 years. When I get bored of the gym though, it's fun to go to a bar and beat someone that has an attitude. So, when I'm in a bad mood, sometimes I go to the bar to find that kind of guy. (laughing)
Pride: What?!
Abbot: I've kicked a lot of guys" asses. It doesn't have to be a bar. Whether it's on the side of the road or a gas station, I don't care where we are. Fighting is fun. (smiling)
Pride: If you like fighting so much, why did you leave the UFC for a time and start pro-wrestling (WCW)?
Abbot: I love fighting. I thought that my time for making a living in martial arts, including the UFC, was over at one point. It wasn't broadcast on TV and the money wasn't good. I can't make a living that way. That's when I was approached by WCW. Over time, though, WCW probably realized that they couldn't use all of my craziness. I wasn't satisfied with in the UFC because of my roots as a fighter and that's why I chose PRIDE this time.
Pride: How do you plan on fighting in PRIDE?
Abbot: I think of myself as a wrestler that has two powerful arms. I don't like getting hit, of course, but I'm not scared of getting hit and I'm going to keep pounding with these two powerful arms. I think they are my best weapons.
Pride: So, you attach a lot of importance to your punches.
Abbot: Of course. I've been training at this Mexican-style gym for a long time because hitting hard will be the focus of my fight. That's the only thing I concentrate on when I'm training.
Pride: Exactly what kind of training are you doing now?
Abbot: Boxing, grappling, cardio and weight training. I spend about the same amount of time on each of them.
Pride: You're going to fight Hidehiko Yoshida on August 28th. Honestly, what did you think when you heard his name?
Abbot: When I heard Yoshida's name? I was excited, of course. Then, I remembered his fight with Royce Gracie. I think he's a tough guy. I don't like fighting easy opponents in the first place. Tough opponents are the best.
Pride: What do you have to watch out for with Yoshida?
Abbot: I'll be watching out for everything. He's good on the ground and grabbing. He's got a lot of strong techniques for using his judo gi to bring the fight to the ground.
Pride: Are you doing any specific training for Yoshida?
Abbot: I get asked that a lot. If I prepare myself, I don't think there's any need to train for a specific opponent. I'd say that is my specific training. (laughing). This isn't a joke. If I in shape, there's nobody in this world that can beat me. If my mind and my body are prepared, there is nothing to fear.
Pride: How do you think the fight will play out?
Abbot: No idea. (laughing) I honestly don't know. I've never tried to imagine how a fight would go.
Pride: Really?
Abbot: Of course! Who do you think I am?! I can't even imagine it. The real question is whether Yoshida can keep up with me. That's what I'm looking forward to the most.
Pride: You want to KO him with punches though, right?
Abbot: I don't know. There are a lot of patterns in a fight. It may be a fight that ends with a KO or it may primarily be a grappling match. I may even submit him. (laughing) That's why I can't imagine what will happen.
Pride: PRIDE is broadcast all over the world, including the US. What do you want to show everyone that will be sitting in front of their televisions?
Abbot: That's simple. The guys that watch my fight want to see my type of win. They want to see me beat my opponent down.
Pride: Is there anything that you want to say to Yoshida?
Abbot: Yoshida! Do you know what's going to happen to you? I am going to beat you down! That's all.
Pride: Is there anyone that you want to fight in PRIDE after Yoshida?
Abbot: Not really? Why? Because I will fight anybody. I didn't think I'd be fighting at this age either but I'm addicted to fighting. (laughing)