BUSHIDO 11 Interviews With Ryo Chonan and Joey Villasenor
06/03/2006

Ryo Chonan: For the first time in a long time, I'm nervous. I'm always thinking about the fight and I was only able to sleep about two or three hours last night. I haven't been like this since the year I made my debut. I've lost twice in PRIDE and I guess it's because I'm worried about the outcome of this fight.

Most of my training in America revolved around sparring. We trained really hard for about 2 months. I was sparring with big 80~90kg fighters. In the end, I also sparred with Bas Rutten. He is apparently still training and he's in great shape. He put a lot of pressure on me. Dan was better at hitting me in the face but in overall striking, Bas Rutten was the best of all my sparring partners.
I worked out too hard in America so my training is lighter in Japan. I've been training for a long time and the tiredness has built up, and that is also something I have to fight with. My body was killing me but I was training more than twice a day.
This time I thought of techniques for a strong opponent. I was just floating around the first time I went to train in America but this time we were training with several simulations. I discovered techniques that I can use this time among those that I already knew.
Joey Villasenor's powerful takedowns and pounding stands out. It's always been pounding in a cage though, so I'm not so sure how that will work for him in the ring. I don't think he has fought a fighter who can use his legs from the bottom and I'm not sure he will be able to pound this time as he has always done before. I watched six of his fights on video, included his fight against Shirai in DEEP.
My training partner, Brian Foster, told me that I can beat him but the truth is that I have to beat him. At a minimum, I have to win. I have a plan but it never goes exactly as you hope. I want to win in the end, no matter how the fight develops. I want to knock him out.
I'm still tired so I will spend the fight until the match taking it easy in my room.

Joey Villasenor: I'm very happy that I can fight in PRIDE for the first time. I will be in top condition when I climb into the ring. It's been a dream of mine to fight in PRIDE and I think it's the best event. I've wanted to compete in PRIDE since I began mixed martial arts. It was a good experience for me when I came to Japan the first time to fight in DEEP. I fought at that time even though I was still suffering from jet lag but I learned a lot. However, I'm come prepared for this Grand Prix.
The fight in DEEP was very different than my usual style. There were many reasons for this but the biggest one was the jet lag. You don't feel like fighting when you are sleepy. (laughing) I've been able to relax since I came to Japan this time. I've brought different corner men than the last time and I've trained well, so I will be even better prepared than the last time.
I think I'm an all-round fighter and I'm good at finding my opponents' weaknesses and attacking them. I can fight on the ground but I don't want to go to the ground unless it's necessary. I'm a striker, so I want to strike. I've also got power. I'm good at stomping and I will prove that I'm suited for PRIDE rules.
I know that Chonan is a tough opponent but I have a detailed plan and I can imagine what kind of plan Chonan has come up with. If we end up trading strikes, I think we will both slug it out. Chonan is an all-round fighter and he's good at taking advantage of his opponent's mistakes. He's the type that can change his style depending on how the fight is going in the ring. I'm sure out fight will be a good one.
This will definitely be an exciting fight. I have 21 wins and 3 losses on my record and 19 of those wins are by clear finishes. I'm a good finisher. I will decide the fight and I can finish my opponents. If one of my big punches connects, the fight will be over. I think this fight will end before the decision.
Chonan said that he's going to teach me to fear PRIDE BUSHIDO? I'm a man without fear. It'll be difficult for him to teach me fear. I've fought 25 of the world's best fighters and fought my way to PRIDE. Chonan, I think you are going to learn the true strength of the Azteca warrior.