RICARDO ARONA SPOKE TO THE PRESS
08/26/2005

Ricardo Arona spoke to the press immediately after his arrival in Japan about his upcoming August 28th bout with Wanderlei Silva. Arona was obviously pumped for the fight, occasionally punching the palm of his hand with his fist. "If I'm a tiger, he's a hyena.!"

Full of power, a smile drifted over Arona's face. He agreed to an interview with the gathered reporters without showing any signs of jetlag from his long flight, even giving us his "tiger pose."
"My condition is very good. I'm ready to give the fans a great fight, win and become the Champion. Wanderlei is a very strong fighter. He's got stamina and he came to win, too. He leaves a special impression, of course. I've wanted to fight him for a long time so I'm really looking forward to this."
Arona said that he has trained as usual, not doing any special training, but he's ready to submit Wanderlei, "I know Wanderlei's weak points. He's not a specialist in jiu-jitsu. He's strong in his specialty, striking, but Wanderlei doesn't have enough throwing and submission skills. Of course I'm confident that I can submit him with a joint-lock. Yoshida couldn't submit Wanderlei because he's a judo fighter. I am a jiu-jitsu fighter. Jiu-jitsu is more effective on Wanderlei than judo. I'm the only person in the world that can beat Wanderlei."
Arona is motivated for fights other than his long-awaited bout with the Middleweight Champions, "We were in a restaurant in Japan about 4 years ago and the atmosphere between Wanderlei and me turned bad. Since then, we and our gyms have been rivals. There's nothing emotional about it now, though. We're both going to fight as professionals. Of course, we are still rivals, though. It's good motivation. Rogerio lost to Shogun and I've beaten Ninja, so I'd like to beat Shogun, too."
Both of Brazil's top MMA teams, Brazilian Top Team and Chute Boxe Academy, are strong teams that feel a rivalry with each other. Arona believes that the perfect way to decide who is the best is to beat Silva in the semi-finals and then take out Shogun in the finals. Laughing, he said, "That's more interesting, isn't it? Like a game."
"My goal is to get the Middleweight Grand Prix title and the Middleweight Champion title," Arona continued. "Now, I'm thinking of nothing but the Middleweight Grand Prix."
Regarding the fact that Silva vs. Arona was the fight that the fans most wanted to see put together, Arona commented, "I've thought for a long time that this is a fight that should happen. I think it will be fun for the fans, even in a sense of jiu-jitsu vs. muay thai."
Arona laughed off Silva's comment that he would avenge Sakuraba, "Why would he say something like that? Hasn't he fought Sakuraba many times? I don't have anything to do with that. I came to win."
"I am going to fight with 100% of my power in the match with Wanderlei. I think it will be a tough fight but I will win, by KO or submission. If I get injured or tired in this match, it will be difficult to fight in the Final Round so I want to use all of my strength, win this fight and advance to the finals with no injuries."
"I didn't get any more tiger tattoos this time. If I win, I'll probably get another, though," Arona laughed about his tattoos, a topic in Japan since his last visit. "If I'm a tiger, Wanderlei's a hyena. He's not pretty and he looks like he should always be in a pack."
Although Arona claims he this match isn't personal for him, some of his comments would definitely make Wanderlei angry if he heard them. On August 28th, the scent of danger will be in the air.