Joey "DreamSmasher" Villasenor has been the only fighter from Team Jackson to make it to PRIDE FIGHTING. Joey has been the KOTC Middleweight Champion, a title he has held for two years and is scheduled to make his debut against RYO CHONAN at PRIDE'S BUSHIDO SURVIVAL TOURNAMENT on June 4th.




PRIDE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIPS: How long have you been fighting and how have you grown since you first began your career?
JOEY VILLASENOR: I've been fighting since 1998, over seven years ago and I think every fight is a new experience. I am real fortunate to be where I am at now and I think that experience will help me out a lot now.
PRIDE: Tell me about the first time you fought in JAPAN how was the experience?
JV: I didn't get out to Japan in time and didn't get acclimated and got there a day before the fight and it was a total learning experience. Cutting weight was difficult to as well. I was pretty much fighting at 3 or 4 am in the morning our time and battling an injury. But of course I took the fight. Although I beat him in all areas, it was a lack luster performance for me. This time I'll be out four or five days before schedule.
PRIDE: What made you begins to start fighting?
JV: I've always been an athlete whether it was football, baseball or track. To me it's another sport and basically I got take jujitsu and self-defense classes back when I was 20 for fun. I realized that I was good at it and wanted to get competitive with it. So basically it began as a sport and then its blossomed into where it is right now.
PRIDE: What have you learned about fighting since you began years ago?
JV: I have learned that is a very tough living and tough job. A lot of people really want to have the glory of being a champion or make lots of money, but they don't realize that in this sport it is extremely tough to make it and to get it where I'm at right now. Also it has given me a lot of pride and respect and turned me into a man.
PRIDE: What's your fighting style?
JV: Submission fighting. I believe that I'm very well rounded. There might be somebody who is better at jiujitsu; somebody who is a better kick boxer but I look at myself as an all around MMA guy and feel I'm am pretty well rounded.
PRIDE: Why are you called the "dream-smasher"?
JV: Because everybody in this sport has dreams and aspirations and so do I, but if you match up with me then I just might be that one person who smashes your dreams and sends you into retirement. It's either him or me and just why I've been given my nickname.
PRIDE: You don't cripple your opponents or anything do you?
JV: No, I believe totally in clean fighting, but my aggressive style has given me that nickname.
PRIDE: How does it feel to debut in PRIDE'S 16-man pride tournament?
JV: It feels great! I'm training very hard for it. I'm very motivated right now and feel that I'm coming in at the right time and be my 25th fight, all those fight jitters are not new to me but at this level I'm still pretty excited and it means the world to me that I have the invite to this tournament.
PRIDE: What's your record?
JV: 21-3.
PRIDE: That is quite an impressive record. So, how long you have been waiting for this opportunity?
JV: About one and half to two years, I wouldn't say waiting because I've been active and honing my skills. I think the timing is just right; I've been waiting about a year for this. But it came at a great time, but the last couple of fights challenged what I've been learning lately.
PRIDE: How will training for PRIDE rules be different than KOTC and will the new rules help or hurt you?
JV: I can practice new things such as knees to the head and foot stomps, as an athlete I have to follow rules and watch out for accidentally throwing elbows. Throwing elbows can end a fight in a dispute without a clear winner and I appreciate PRIDE's rules because they give an athlete the chance to finish their opponent.
PRIDE: What is your strategy against Chonan?
JV: I want to test his chin and I feel that my power is pretty good and his chin is pretty exposed so why not go for something that has been exposed in the past. I'd like it to be an exciting match, not a grappling match and that's where my strategy lies. I would love to finish the fight via KO or TKO, that's what pride is all about. They give you the option to finish the fight with stomps to the head or however you want.
PRIDE: How do you usually finish your opponents?
JV: Usually by TKO or KO. If I get submission, somebody would roll over and give me their back. I've had 21 fights and finished 19 of them.
PRIDE: Who do you like to watch in PRIDE?
JV: Of course Wanderlei Silva, I'm a decent friend with Dan Henderson and Fedor is an amazing ground and pounder and though he got beat, Gomi shows the heart of a lion.
PRIDE: How do you keeping yourself busy if you're not fighting?
JV: I love movies, and going to rock concerts and fly fishing. I listen to heavy metal, I'm a born again Rage Against the Machine fan, Korn, Manson, NIN, and bands like so. I've been doing fly-fishing for about 10 years and it takes my mind away from everyday life; the sounds of the river running, the wildlife and 12 hours of pure relaxation. I love camping and fishing and get out there whenever I can.
PRIDE: Anything in common between the two?
JV: With fighting I can get my family's name out there and there's only so much pride you can get from fishing. With PRIDE, you can be champion and have your name go down in history and is big for your family and friends. But fly fishing and fighting definitely take skill to do well.
PRIDE: How do you mentally prepare for a fight?
JV: Lots of visualization and knowing that the hard work and pain and suffering will pay off. All the tribulations I've encountered make the fight easier. my camp is really big on suffering. The team motto is that who ever can suffer the longest wins. We push ourselves mentally and physically, and that mentally prepares me for my fights.
PRIDE: Anything you'd like to say to your fans?
JV: I'd definitely like to say thank you for the support and there have been some great supporters of mine waiting for this opportunity and now that I get there they get there too. I want to show everybody what I am made of and justify the champion that I am. We will see how much credibility I will get after this fight.