Fedor Emelianenko, attending the PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix 2006 Opening Round on May 5th at the Osaka Dome, had tough words regarding the Opening Round fights. Will Fedor be in the ring alongside his rivals on July 1st in the PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix 2006 Second Round?




Pride Fighting Championships: What did you think of the Open Weight Grand Prix Opening Round on May 5th.
Fedor Emelianenko: First, it's very unfortunate that my brother Alexander lost. That's my first thought. I'm really shocked. My only comfort is that my teammate, Zentsov, won his fight. I think the other fights turned out as I expected for the most part.
Pride: What do you believe was the reason for Alexander's loss?
Emelianenko: I think he probably lacked something in his preparation. There's something else I want to say. In the 1st round, Josh Barnett was rubbing his own eye and I question that he had the fight stopped. The fight was stopped because of that and the doctor checked his eye but there was nothing wrong. There was nothing unusual about his eye and he wasn't injured, so I don't understand why he did that.
Pride: After the fight, Josh pointed a finger at you and challenged you, saying that you are the only one that he wants to fight. What do you think of that?
Emelianenko: I think it was very good that he put on that kind of demonstration. (laughing) Josh is a good athlete and I believe that he's a strong fighter but he's lost to Mirko Cro Cop twice, so if I compared him to Mirko as a fighter, Josh would lose. Of course, I respect him as a fighter, though.
Pride: Did Josh become someone worth fighting when he beat Alexander?
Emelianenko: It's not about whether he's worth it or not. I beat Mirko and considering that Josh lost to Mirko, I think there's still a gap between us. However, I'm willing to fight any of these fighters, so I don't think that I'm too good for them.
Pride: After the event, DSE President Sakakibara said that if you are going to compete in the 2nd Round, he wants to see Yoshida or Fujita volunteer to fight you. What do you think about these two fighters?
Emelianenko: I think that Fujita is a very good fighter but I felt the end of the fight with Thompson was a little late. I think Fujita probably could have ended the fight at an earlier stage. Regarding Yoshida, he was lucky in the matchmaking for that card.
Pride: You've fought Fujita before. Do you think that Fujita has grown since your fight with him?
Emelianenko: I won't know for certain unless we fight in the ring. Just from what I saw though, I don't think he has gotten that much stronger. Actually, he looked weaker than when I fought him.
Pride: I believe it was about one year ago when you said that you were interested in fighting Yoshida because he's an Olympic gold medallist. Have your feelings changed?
Emelianenko: I still want to fight Yoshida. I always want to fight fighters that are good enough too win a medal in the Olympics. Yoshida is the type of fighter that thinks about how he should use his best techniques as he fighting, so I'm very interested in a fight with him.
Pride: Tsuyoshi Kosaka, whom you have also fought, retired after his fight in the First Round of the Grand Prix. How did you see that fight?
Emelianenko: I thought it was strange that Kosaka didn't use his best techniques in that fight. He was trying to win at striking against Mark Hunt, whose strength is striking. I thought it was very strange that he would lose to Hunt without using his best techniques. Why did Kosaka decide to do that? Why didn't he attack him with his best techniques? I think he probably could have used more effective techniques against Hunt.
Pride: Do you have a message for Kosaka?
Emelianenko: Rather than talking about his retirement, the way he fought Hunt left an impression on me. Kosaka, I believe that a fight is a place to use your advantages and your strong points. I don't think that it's necessary to show your weaknesses. Why didn't Kosaka try to submit Hunt when he had him in the mount? It's strange to me.
Pride: Do you feel anything special when someone you have fought retires?
Emelianenko: No. It's normal when a sports athlete decides to end his sports career of his own free will. I've never felt anything special about a fighter's retirement.
Pride: I see. What do you think of Mark Hunt, who some have said is the most likely to beat you?
Emelianenko: I think that Hunt is a very good fighter but I question whether he will be able to win in the Second Round. I think that he may lose to someone there.
Pride: From what you saw in the Opening Round, and assuming that you will be able to compete in the Second Round, who do you think will be the most formidable opponent for you?
Emelianenko: As most of the Opening Round results were as I expected, all of the fighters are good fighters but I didn't see anyone using new skills or show any particular growth. So, I don't think there was anyone there that will be a great rival for me. Nogueira is still there, though, but he has lost to me twice already and with those results in mind, I don't think there is anyone particularly threatening. If Nogueira uses some kind of new skill that he learned since we fought, he might be a great rival but just from what I saw in the Opening Round, I don't think he shown any remarkable growth.
Pride: You sound confident... How is your right hand doing after the surgery?
Emelianenko: I can't say anything in detail at this stage until I show it to the doctor one more time. Right now, there is still a plate in my hand.
Pride: Do you intent to fight in the Second Round?
Emelianenko: I really want to compete. If my hand heals, I will definitely be in the ring in July.