PRE-FIGHT INTERVIEW VITOR BELFORT & YOSHIKI TAKAHASHI
06/30/2006

Vitor Belfort: This is the first fight in Japan for me in a long time but I feel really good. Over the past year, I've fought in boxing matches and I fought Alistair Overeem in America. I train about four to six hours every day. I wasn't able to overcome the effects of leaving Carlson Gracie but finally, I've created an environment where I can work on Team Belfort.

Vitor Belfort: This is the first fight in Japan for me in a long time but I feel really good. Over the past year, I've fought in boxing matches and I fought Alistair Overeem in America. I train about four to six hours every day. I wasn't able to overcome the effects of leaving Carlson Gracie but finally, I've created an environment where I can work on Team Belfort. I have boxing coaches, jujitsu coaches and muay thai coaches. They may not be famous but they support me as if I were family. My team and myself have definitely grown.
Takahashi is an extremely tough and experienced fighter. I remember him beating Ismail in the UFC tournament where I became Champion. I never thought he would be able to beat Ismail and I felt that he is truly a great fighter.
However, the old Vitor is back this time. The old Vitor has been brought back to life and I will knock Takahashi out. With the support of the fans, I will do my best.



Yoshiki Takahashi: I went to Los Angeles to do some shopping and coincidentally, I ran into Fujita when I was sun tanning there. (laughing) So, he let me train with him in Santa Monica. Suddenly, this fight was confirmed and I was really surprised. I stayed in Los Angeles for about 3 weeks, by the way.
I broke my hand in last year's fight and the recovery took a long time. I wasn't able to practice boxing and I was drinking my sorrows away. Why did I accept this fight at this point? I feel strongly about PRIDE. I've felt strongly about PRIDE since PRIDE 1, back when Kurozawa was running the event and now that PRIDE is facing difficult times, I wanted to lend a hand and support them.
It was sad when Kosaka, one of my training buddies, retired after the Opening Round. I still plan on fighting and although I'll be 40 in 3 years, I expected Kosaka to become my rival as we continued to compete because his body and his spirit are very strong. Kosaka has his own reasons for retiring but when I hear that, I was sad. So, I decided to stay until the end and see him off. I've not fighting for Kosaka at all, though, and if I were, Kosaka was get angry. I'm still learning new things from Kosaka and I hope that I can little-by-little use the things that I have practiced with Kosaka. I've always wanted to have fights that showed my feelings because I don't do anything technical. (laughing)
I'm scared of Vitor. He's strong. He won the UFC tournament where I beat Ismail, right? I remember thinking that he was a really strong fighter. That's unexpected? When I fight, I can't think of anything except what I should do and whether I can beat myself. For example, if I fought Fedor or Silva it would be the same. I only think about challenging myself when I fight. I want to tie up in my fights. That all depends on how each fighter comes out at that time and I just try to fight so I don't lose to myself. If I do that, the fight will take care of itself and it will be exciting. I realized that when I fought Vovchanchyn.
I want to win this fight, even if I have to die. Everyone around me says that I should retire and that I've passed my peak but I will show them. To do that, I have to beat myself. That will probably be my theme in the future. I'm getting old so if I can't beat myself, there's nowhere to go but down. I hope the fans will look forward to my tough fighting style.