PRE-OWGP 2006 OPENING ROUND INTERVIEWS WITH KAZUYUKI FUJITA AND JAMES THOMPSON
05/04/2006

Kazuyuki Fujita: It's a tournament, so I'm ready to win this First Round and move up the ladder. I'm excited for this fight, as usual. I want to win each fight and climb up to the Final Round.

Thompson's power, speed and explosiveness are amazing. Do I think I have an advantage? Not at all. That power is incredible. He can put a lot of pressure on your. His power is beyond normal. Dashing at the bell? He doesn't always do that, right? I'm not really thinking of detailed plans, like taking him down, anyway.
I trained at Marco Ruas' dojo this time. I did everything. At Marco's dojo, I don't have to do just one thing. I learned many ways of improving myself from his experience. It's not like ordinary martial arts training. I don't know if you can call it spiritual training but it has a deeper feeling than just ordinary training. Of course, we trained striking and grappling as usual but sometimes we'd also climb trees and mountains. Sometimes we'd go swimming in the lake.
PRIDE has become a big event since I was fighting here. It's really big. I will see how much I can do here. PRIDE is different than 3 years ago but I'm different, too. I was just lying around for the past 3 years, of course. I want to use everything I've done in the past and see how far I can push myself. The possibilities are endless. How far has my limit been extended? How far can I push it? Things like that.
I want to live a life like Mr. Sakakibara. That's one of my dreams. It's important to have that kind of desire. I want my life to be successful like him. I've been fighting without direction in the past but now I have a goal. I will be successful like Mr. Sakakibara.

 

   

 

James Thompson: I've very relaxed right now. I'm calm. I've trained hard and this is the best condition I've ever been in. I can't wait for the fight. My new hairstyle? I made it a little wild because of my nickname, the "Mega Punk." (laughing) You don't need to worry about the traffic accident. Miraculously, I got away with only light injuries. I had 11 stitches in my head, so it wasn't that bad.

I've been watching Fujita's fights since he fought Ken Shamrock. I've respected him as a great fighter since that time. Fujita's greatest strength is his ability to continue fighting. He pressures himself and brings out all of his power. He's mentally strong, too. He fought until the very end in the Shamrock fight, didn't he? That fight is my favorite fight. Fujita just keeps on fighting and he never gave up. His takedown skills are incredible, too. I watched fight many times. I was really impressed and I learned a lot as a fighter.
But, I want to be the one to make Fujita lose his heart. There's no other way to beat him. I will damage his body and at the same time, break him down mentally, so it will be a hard fight. I will break Fujita down, though! I will win!
It's an honor, and a pleasure, to be his opponent in his return match. I'm also nervous because this match will determine who advances to the next round in the Grand Prix. It's an important fight. I've sacrificed many things for this fight and I've trained hard. I'm looking forward to seeing positive results from that.
Specifically, I went to train with the American Top Team for 1 month this time. Jeff Monson from American Top Team has come to train with my team, Team Trojan, before and he invited me out to train with ATT, telling me that there were lots of big sparring partners. At that time, Marcus Aurelio had just come back from Japan and he was really happy that he had beaten Gomi. I learned chokes and counter attacks from him, too.
After I win this fight, I'm going to return to England, train even more and return as an even better fighter. I'm looking forward to showing the Japanese fans the new me. I promise you that on May 5th, a battle will unfold in the ring.