Both Japanese and foreign fighters gathered together to compete in the May 22nd PRIDE BUSHIDO Vol. 7, giving performances that were more exciting than anyone had imagined. Among them, a couple of foreign fighters stood out. We have an exclusive interview with Jens Pulver, who KO'd Taisho in the 2nd fight of the night.
I feel great. I don't have any injuries and I could have gone another fight after that. I've wanted to win in front of the fans since I lost to Gomi on New Year's Eve last year and let them know that Jens Pulver can still do it.
You have been training hard in order to fight at 73kg this time. How did it feel to actually fight at that weight?
If your speed and conditioning go down because you gained weight, there's no point. I didn't try to gain weight in a hurry. I gained weight slowly over the past 5 months. So, I was able to keep my speed, gain muscle and I'm stronger than I've ever been. My game plan was to do as my coach, Pat Miletich, told me, "Punch before you get punched."
There were a lot of dramatic KOs in BUSHIDO 7. Why do you this that was?
It's the same in boxing but heavyweight fighters have a lot of punching power and there are a lot of KOs. The technical level of many of them is low though, their movements are slow and the matches tend to be slow. Light-middleweights are better technically and they can fight mentally, like playing chess. That's why the lighter classes in boxing, from lightweight to featherweight, are beginning to gain attention. You can say the same thing about MMA. The light-middleweights come up with great game plans and bring a high-level of striking and grappling skill to the fight. As someone fighting at the top of this weight class, I want to show everyone how great and entertaining the light-middleweight class is.
You have some experience as a professional boxer. What do you think about punch defense in MMA?
Boxing only uses punches for attacking so you have to defend based on the rhythm of the punches and your movements are bigger when you are defending. In MMA though, you also have to be careful about knee kicks and tackles so you do such big motions. You have to defend punches with the littlest amount of movement possible. That's why I think that punch defense in MMA and boxing are two completely different things.