A press conference was held in a Tokyo hotel on March 30th to announce the participation of Japan's ace, Hidehiko Yoshida, in the First Round of the May 5th PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix 2006, to be held in the Osaka Dome.

Hidehiko Yoshida will step into the ring at Osaka Dome in the May 5th Open Weight Grand Prix for his first fight since his battle with Naoya Ogawa on December 31. Yoshida gave the following reasons for his decision to enter the GP, "It's been 3 months since the last fight. I've been training twice a day this year, so I'm in good shape. Mentally, I feel great and I thought that I would challenge myself again."

Although Yoshida said that his knee has yet to completely heal from the fight with Ogawa, it doesn't seem to worry him, "I can train and it's healed enough that I don't have to worry about it. I've been training the entire time." Asked about his weight, Yoshida replied that because this is an Open Weight Division, he's not trying to gain weight and that he will fight at his best weight. "I weight a little more than 100kg right now. I don't think I will get any heavier than this. If I get too big, I won't be able to move my body well. I think it would be good to lose a little weight, actually."




"It doesn't really do any good to think about my opponent so much, so I'm not really thinking about strategies for the tournament. I do want to add some strength, though," Yoshida said, adding that some importance will be placed on weight.
Also announced today was the participation of Yoshida's friend, Tsuyoshi Kosaka. Of course, if they both advance it's possible that they will have to face each other but Yoshida says they will work together, "I don't think we will have to face each other until the Final Round. (laughing) Kosaka taught me everything when I first started doing mixed martial arts. I've still got a lot to learn so I will steal his good points and make them a part of me."

"It will be a difficult fight, no matter who my opponent is. Anybody is fine. I won't turn refuse anyone," Yoshida said about his opponent for the First Round. However, he continued, "The opponent (I want) might be different than that of the fans."
Pressed by reporters to explain, Yoshida said, "I've already fought Hunt and Silva and Kosaka wants to fight Fedor, so I'd prefer someone else. Does Hunt want revenge on me? If I was told to fight him, I would but I've already won the first time we fought. (laughing) I'm interested in Silva but they will have the Middleweight Grand Prix next year so maybe we shouldn't fight this time."

"I do want to fight Silva again, though," Yoshida added, saying that despite his earlier statement he would like to face Silva at the Open Weight Grand Prix.
Although Yoshida fought without his judo uniform for the first time against Ogawa, he said that he would rather fight in his usual style' in this Grand Prix, "I can't say whether I will or won't (wear the uniform) at the moment but basically, I want to wear it when I fight. I want to fight in my own way and I can relax with my uniform on."