Interviews With Denis Kang and Murilo "Ninja" Rua
06/05/2006

Denis Kang: I really wanted to compete in the Grand Prix and I'm very happy that I can now. There were some easy opponents in last year's Grand Prix but the world's best fighters have gathered for this year's Grand Prix. Everyone here has the ability to finish the fight and the fighter who stands at the top of this Grand Prix stands at the top of the world. Pound-for-pound.

My opponent, Ninja, is a Chute Boxe-style muay thai fighter. He will drop weight to fight here but I have a longer career in the Welterweight Division and I think that will be an important factor in deciding the fight.
I've always wanted to fight an aggressive fighter like Ninja. I'm completely prepared. Ninja is the aggressive type, always coming forward, so he will definitely make mistakes. That's where I will attack and I want to take it to the ground, where I am at my best. I'm going to take Ninja's aggressiveness and turn it into my pace and fight my usual fighting style
I know that Ninja's ground techniques are at a high level and he proved that in his fight against Paulo Filho. However, he doesn't compare to me. I'm confident that my ground technique is better. And I will be fine if it turns into a striking battle. I've been training hard on muay thai defense like low and high-kick blocks, and counters, with the American Top Team for this fight. Anticipating a striking battle is one part of my game plan and I will be able to handle Ninja well when he comes forward. I'm not scared of his stomps or soccer-ball kicks at all.
I seem very confident? Of course I am. If I weren't confident, I wouldn't fight. (laughing) I throw away all my negative emotions before my fights. I always imagine myself winning and I just think about how to faithfully carry out the game plan I've created.
The first fight in this tournament is the most important, so now I'm concentrating on the Opening Round. Ninja will be the first big name for me to fight and I hope that I will be able to beat him. I will gain a lot of things if I can beat him but I think the most important thing will be the experience I gain.

Murilo "Ninja" Rua: Honestly, my last fight against Paulo Filho wasn't my fight. I had to lost weight quickly and because of that, I didn't have any power. This time I prepared well and I will be fine. I've become accustomed to my weight at 83kg and I have enough physical power. Recently I've been working with a physical trainer and doing weight training. Also I've been doing muay thai and jujitsu as always. Recently I've also started running. I've reduced the amount of food I eat, stopped eating carbohydrates and eat meat.
I've become stronger since I lost weight and my stamina and speed have improved. I will show you everything this time. I will be much more aggressive in this fight.
I haven't seen much of Denis Kang but he's a tough opponent. I want to do my best in this fight, give my all and become the Champion. Every fighter in this Grand Prix is tough and I think that Kang, Dan Henderson, Paulo Filho and Murilo Bustamante are tough in particular.
I also believe this Grand Prix will be the most difficult tournament in the history of PRIDE. The level of this Grand Prix is very high, so I think it will be an excellent Grand Prix. To win this Grand Prix, you have to use your head wisely and be prepared both physically and technically. I will do my best to get the belt, and I will give a good, Chute Boxe-style fight.