WANDERLEI SILVA IS READY FOR CRITICAL COUNTDOWN ABSOLUTE
06/30/2006

PRIDE Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva answered reporters' questions soon after arriving in Japan on June 28th. Silva will take on Kazuyuki Fujita in the PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix 2006 Second Round, to be held on July 1st at the Saitama Super Arena.

Silva appeared before the gathered reporters smiling and with a new hairstyle; a short, brown Mohawk. Silva looked relaxed and joked that since he doesn't have to cut weight for this match he had just stuffed himself with pasta, gaining 2kg. Responding to cameraman requests, Silva held fellow Brazilian and soccer superstar Ronaldinho's jersey high above his head. After a 6 month hiatus to recharge his batteries, Silva appears to have refreshed himself both physically and mentally.

"My conditioning is great and I'm very happy that I can fight in the Open Weight Grand Prix's Second Round. I want to live up to my fans' expectations," Silva said. Silva also said that although he currently weighs 96kg, slightly more than the Middleweight Division's 93kg limit, he intends to drop around 1kg, to 95kg, before the fight."I haven't done any particular training specifically for a Heavyweight opponent. I trained muay thai and jujitsu, as I always do. I did spar with heavy opponents at my gym, though. I was able to train well so even though I may be a small fighter in this Grand Prix, I won't have any problems fighter a bigger opponent. This will be a big challenge for me."

Silva continued, saying that he wants to challenge himself and fight strong opponents, regardless of weight differences. He is excited to fight one of Japan's top Heavyweight fighters. "It's a great card. Fujita is one of the strongest fighters in the Grand Prix. He is a popular fighter, so I'm happy that I will be able to fight him."
The Champion's policy is to not fear defeat, to challenge himself against strong opponent's and give fans exciting fights. "This fight will be historic," Silva added. Silva seems to be ready for an all-out war. If Fujita is going to make it a battle of will power, Silva is ready to fight and if he's hit by Fujita, he'll give back twice what he received. There's little doubt that this fight will be even more exciting than Fujita's battle against James Thompson in the Opening Round.

Silva also spoke about his loyalties, "I love PRIDE. I think of the PRIDE ring as my home. As the Champion, I have to protect this ring and that's why I chose to fight in PRIDE." Silva, nicknamed "Mr. PRIDE", is determined to stick with PRIDE during the tough times and as the Champion, protect the PRIDE ring. On July 1st, in the middle of Japan's rainy season, Silva will unleash thunder and lighting in the PRIDE ring when he takes on Kazuyuki Fujita.