PRE-OWGP 2006 OPENING ROUND INTERVIEWS WITH JOSH BARNETT AND ALEXANDER EMELIANENKO
05/04/2006

Josh Barnett: My current weight is 115kg. I've continued to train hard since the last fight, so I've burned fat and my body has become slimmer. The training was hell. The goal of my training was to cut fat and gain muscle. If my weight just drops, it doesn't mean anything. I think that 112kg~118kg is the best weight for me.

My impression of Alexander, my opponent, is that he's young and hungry. His conditioning is good and as a fighter, his quality is rapidly improving. From his point of view, he can fight without worrying about pressure or winning or losing. I've been fighting for 10 years and this will be my 37th fight, though. I've fought all over Japan, from Hokkaido in the North to Fukuoka in the South. I've had incredible fights with Schilt and Kondo. Alexander seems to fight like a samurai, as if he's willing to die, but I'm the same way. I'm focused on winning. I will put the pressure right back on him and I'm confident that I will be able to give a good fight and win.
Alexander is definitely a dangerous fighter. He's big and his punches are strong. Do you think his striking is better than Semmy Schilt's, whom I beat? Is his wrestling better than Randy Couture's? I spare with K-1 fighters and black belts in jujitsu. I don't think Alexander is better than those guys in anything. I'm not ignoring his true abilities, though. I just happen to understand his strong points and his weak points.
He won't give up and he won't lose heart. There's nothing wrong with ending the fight early, so my goals is to finish it in the 1st round. I'll finish it in 7~8 minutes. My goal is to finish all of my Grand Prix fights in the 1st round, not just this one. I've finished 29 of 30 fights in my record within 10 minutes.
I'm always trying to win and seriously trying to use a power-bomb or some other pro-wrestling move. I wanted to use one in my fight with Nakamura. The Nagata Lock II, for example. Alexander is weak when someone has his back, so like I said in the press conference yesterday, I'll try for a German Suplex if I get his back.
How much can I lift? I can lift Bob Sapp. I've suplexed 320lb fighters in training. Alexander has been cutting weight, so I'm glad he's making it easier to throw him. I can use moves like the Nagata Lock II and the Reverse Shrimp Lock in PRIDE. I can use the Death Valley Bomb and the Emerald Flowsion, too. Some of them are difficult so I will use pro-wrestling moves depending on the situation and the strength of my opponent.
If I may say so, there's not that big of a difference between pro-wrestling and mixed martial arts. There's not that big of a difference between the techniques of pro-wrestling and mixed martial arts. There's risk that comes along with mixed martial arts techniques. Looking at Carl Gotch and Bill Robinson's matches, I don't feel there's a big difference between mixed martial arts. The basic parts are connected but not everyone can use Double-Arm Suplexes or German Suplexes. You can use them if you learn the skills that I have.
I use pro-wrestling moves because I want to entertain the fans and I want to prove that pro-wrestling is the best. It's boring to fight the same way all the time, just because the rules are the same, right? I want to show the fans things that only I can do, and as a professional fighter, I understand that I'm expected to give an exciting fight that will entertain the fans. That's the kind of fight that I want to show them.

 

   

 

Alexander Emelianenko: This PRIDE Grand Prix is the biggest event that I've ever fought in and I'm glad I can participate.

Of course I did special training for this fight. I set up a special camp along with Fedor, Zentsov and our coaches. We did various training so I can win this fight and it was a very intense, difficult camp. Fedor can't use his hand so we couldn't spar together but we jogged together and he gave me advice.
I think that Josh is a good, powerful fighter. Together, we will be able to show the fans an amazing fight. I've known about him for a long time. He's very experienced and he can change his strategy depending on the opponent. He's a great opponent so I'm happy that I can fight Josh. Although he definitely has more experience, I will prove who is better in the ring. One area where I can say I have an advantage is that I'm younger. (laughing)
It's difficult to come up with a plan that only ends in a KO or a submission. I want to end the fight as quickly as possible, though. I plan on ending it quickly.
If I win my way up the Grand Prix ladder this time, and I have to fight my brother in the Final Roundwell, we will have to see who is really stronger.