PRE-OWGP 2006 OPENING ROUND INTERVIEWS WITH HIDEHIKO YOSHIDA AND YOUSUKE NISHIJIMA
05/04/2006

Hidehiko Yoshida: I feel the same as always. I'm relaxed. I trained as usual. Did I practice high kicks? Well, you need kicks to defend against punches. I want to kick him but not get countered. There's no real reason for choosing high kicks. It's just a matter of appearance. (laughing) I thought that a high kick would be more exciting. It's fun to watch. No matter how much you practice it though, if it doesn't work in the fight, you might as well not have done it at all.

I'm not really worried about his punches. If I don't use my own strengths, then he'll hit me and knock me down. That's all. I know he's good at punching. He's clearly different than Silva or Hunt. I think he'll be much more accurate. I don't his punches are more accurate than strong. I will push forward. If I back up, he will definitely beat me. If I keep my guard up and keep moving forward, I won't be so easy to knock down, even if he does hit me.
Nishijima is mentally tough. If I don't have more mental strength than him, I won't be able to win. I think the only way to beat him is to break him mentally. I know I will have to suffer some striking. Boxing gloves? I didn't care about that at all.
I will wear my judo gi. Yoon Dong Sik taught him how to defend against the gi? He probably did since Nishijima came from a different sport. I don't think he will be able to easy pick up judo, just like it isn't easy for me to pick up boxing. It's not that easy, so I'm not really worried about it.
It's a fight, so I'll either win or lose. For me, of course, I want to grab him. I can't beat him in striking. And I'm thinking of something else, too. I'm researching it now.

 

   

 

Yousuke Nishijima: I don't care if the gloves are boxing gloves or open-finger gloves. Either one was fine. I just want to fight. The punches would have more effect with boxing gloves so I thought that if it was possible, I'd like to use them. I won't wear under socks but I ordered some special-made boxing shoes. There wasn't any particular reason except that's what I'm used to, so I thought it would be better.

I don't remember fighting Mark Hunt. I didn't even feel like watching a video of it.
I did technical training with Yoon Dong Sik. We did some work on gi defense. I think my groundwork is growing. I think it has grown a lot but I want to finish the fight with punches. I want to prove that body is the superior martial art. I've got one fight under my belt now, unlike last time. This is different. I think I can relax now.
This will be the first time to fight a ground fighter, so I'm nervous. I've put a lot of work into training how to escape from being pinned down. I did it in the fight with Hunt but Hunt's not very good at that kind of thing so it's not much of a reference for me. This is just the First Round, so I'm not thinking about the Grand Prix. I will fight as if it's a normal fight.
I weight 90kg now. I've lost weight. Yoshida doesn't weight as much as Hunt and I thought weighing 90kg would make it easier for me to move around. My best weight is 95kg but I change it, depending on my opponent. My opponent isn't so heavy this time, so I chose a weight that would give me the most speed. I want to knock him down before he grabs me. I didn't work on kicks much this time. I did it so much before the fight last time, so I just did a quick review this time. I will fight with everything I've got. Punches. Kicks. Knees.
I believe that Yoshida is a very strong fighter. He's very strong mentally and I'm really happy that we can fight each other. He can also take a punch. He's mentally strong, even when he gets hit, so I think he's a great fighter. I will do my best. I will do my best to him. I'm looking forward to the fight.