JOHN OLAV EINEMO PRIDE 31 INTERVIEW
01/25/2006

Hardcore martial arts fans will be pleased to see John Olav Einemo participate in the upcoming PRIDE 31 on February 26th. At the 2001 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship, Einemo beat Rigan Machado and Rolles Gracie and in 2003, beat Roger Gracie in the same competition, becoming the Champion of his weight class. Now, "Europe's Jujitsu Magician" will bring his magic to the Heavyweight Division dominated by Fedor Emelianenko, Rodrigo Nogueira and Mirko Filipovic.

 

       

 

Pride Fighting Championships: How do you feel now that your fight in PRIDE has been officially confirmed?
John Olav Einemo: I feel really excited. Fighting in PRIDE has been a dream of mine for a long time. I guess all fighters are like that. I'm looking forward to fighting with the world's top-class fighters.
Pride: When did you begin to feel that you wanted to fight in PRIDE?
Einemo: I watched PRIDE when I began martial arts but it seemed so far away. As I continued in martial arts, well, it wasn't a direct offer but I was asked if I wanted to fight in PRIDE. I was hurt at that time, so I couldn't do it. My injuries are completely healed now, I received an official offer and the timing was really good.
Pride: So, you've always been a fan of PRIDE?
Einemo: I started jujitsu in 1998 and I've seen all the PRIDE events.
Pride: Which fighter do you like?
Einemo: I like to watch Fedor, Nogueira, Wanderlei, Dan Henderson and Bustamante. I think that Fedor is really the true Champion. I like their fighting styles and although this is just a guess, they seem like really good people.
Pride: How about Japanese fighters?
Einemo: There are a lot of fighters with the heart of a lion. There aren't many Heavyweights but Yoshida is apparently going to fight as a Heavyweight and I like Kondo because he likes to fight big opponents. I was interested in the Gomi-Mach fight in the New Year's Eve event. I think Gomi's fight was really incredible.
Pride: You've been away from MMA fights for the last few years. Was your injury the main reason?
Einemo: Yes, I wasn't able to prepare for a MMA fight because of my injury and I didn't want to fight in an MMA fight in that condition.
Pride: There was a rumor that you were going to fight in last year's Heavyweight Grand Prix. Was your injury the reason you didn't participate?
Einemo: I heard that rumor too but it was just a rumor. I never received an official offer from PRIDE.
Pride: Since you agreed to fight this time, you must be in perfect condition.
Einemo: Although I wasn't able to train for MMA last year, I was able to work on recovering from my injury. Because of that, I have now become able to train for MMA.
Pride: Did you see last year's PRIDE Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament?
Einemo: Yes. It was definitely the greatest Grand Prix. There's probably no event at a higher level than PRIDE. The level of the tournament itself was extremely high and the competition was so fierce that even the slightest mistake would decide the fight. 5 or 6 fighters in particular stand out in my mind but the other fighters are my no means low-level. When MMA began, there was a big difference in body sizes and abilities. But, now there are strengths and weaknesses to both of those and you can make up for them with strategy and skill. Because you fight with everything together, you can't easily say who is strong. However, Fedor, Mirko and Nogueira are the top-3 and Kharitonov and Werdum, although he wasn't in the Grand Prix, are also interesting.
Pride: You will fight on the front lines of the Heavyweight Division now. What will be your strongest weapon?
Einemo: My ground skills, of course. I've competed in 3 Abu Dhabi tournaments and always reached the Best 4, so I don't think I will have any problems on the ground. I believe that the base of my fighting style is the ground. However, you can win with just that in MMA. You have to keep proceeding to the next step. I've got strong striking skills, too, and I think I will be able to surprise the people watching.
Pride: In your opinion, is the level of ground technique among PRIDE fighters high?
Einemo: Some of them are high-level but I don't think all are. However, pure grappling and grappling for MMA are completely different things. In my opinion, there are useful positions in MMA, even if they aren't in jujitsu or grappling. In PRIDE, the fighters will be stood up if movement on the ground stops, so it will be necessary to move especially fast on the ground. If I'm going to fight in PRIDE, I want to use both ground and striking effectively.
Pride: Are you prepared for ground-and-pound and soccer ball kicks?
Einemo: The same trainer that trains Joachim Hansen trains me. I am ready.
Pride: Are you confident that you can stand up to the top Heavyweight fighters?
Einemo: I will be the challenger but I am ready to fight any of the top-3 fighters. If I weren't, I wouldn't fight in PRIDE.
Pride: The Open-Weight Grand Prix tournament will be held this year. If you received an offer, would you fight?
Einemo: Of course. I think I could show an aggressive and intelligent fight.