PRE-FIGHT INTERVIEW ANTONIO RODRIGO NOGUEIRA & FABRICIO WERDUM
06/30/2006

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: This is an important event for PRIDE and for myself. I've trained very seriously for this fight. Many of my teammates and friends have come to support me this time, so I will be able to relax and fight. I've extremely happy that I will be able to fight in the same ring as my brother, Rogerio, and my teammate, Drago. In that sense, I will be very relaxed in this fight.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: This is an important event for PRIDE and for myself. I've trained very seriously for this fight. Many of my teammates and friends have come to support me this time, so I will be able to relax and fight. I've extremely happy that I will be able to fight in the same ring as my brother, Rogerio, and my teammate, Drago. In that sense, I will be very relaxed in this fight.
Have I gotten bigger? No, my weight hasn't changed since the last time. Actually, I haven't been doing the physical training that I had always done before the last fight. The reason for that is that the guy that was my trainer is now working for Wanderlei. (laughing) So, I can guarantee that Wanderlei has been doing some hard training this time.
It doesn't bother me that Fabricio is a World Jujitsu Champion. When I was competing in jujitsu events, the real best of the best were competing, guys like Ricardo Arona, Paulo Filho, Margarida and Roleta. To be perfectly clear, the World Championships that I competed in and the ones that Fabricio competed in are on a different level. There were athletes stronger than Fabricio. It was a tough time to become Champion.
Of course, Fabricio is a good fighter and his ground skills are good but this isn't a jujitsu match. It's mixed martial arts. In mixed martial arts, the stronger fighter will win and I'm confident that I will win. Of course, the fight will probably go to the ground. I can't say what kind of techniques I will use, though. Fabricio also has some ground skills so, honestly, I think it will be difficult to win by submission. However, if possible, I would like to submit Fabricio. I will do my best to catch him with a good technique.
We both do Brazilian jujitsu but we're from different dojos, so I think we both have techniques that the other doesn't know. I think this match will be on where we are both using those techniques.
I will be difficult to make this an exciting fight for the fans with him as my opponent. Each fighter has their own style and if those styles match, it becomes a good fight. When I fought Rico Rodriguez, our styles didn't match and it was a bad experience. He had ground techniques and he was good at escaping, so the fight didn't develop. I don't want to have that kind of fight again, though, so this will be a good, beautiful fight. I will do my best to make it that way. I want Fabricio to do his best to keep the fight from stopping, too.
It's unfortunate that Fedor won't be able to compete in this Grand Prix but even we could tell that his hand wasn't in a condition to be healed in time for this fight, so I wasn't really surprised when I heard he wouldn't fight. If I become the Grand Prix Champion, I will have a (Heavyweight Championship) title match with Fedor and we can decide it then. I want everyone to watch this tournament because a new Champion will be born.



Fabricio Werdum: Nogueira was one of my goals when he was doing jujitsu and he was my idol. Watching him fight in PRIDE made me want to do mixed martial arts, too. I've worked hard with him as my goal. However, now we are going to fight each other in the same event and although my respect for him hasn't changed, I respect him as an opponent now, not as an idol.
When my fight with Nogueira was confirmed, I thought this is really great timing for me. With this card, my dreams may come true. That dream is to be Nogueira, whom I respect of course.
Even though Nogueira and I are both jujitsu fighters, we both have our own styles and I think it's difficult to say who is better. I have more experience in jujitsu wearing a gi, though. I've been in many jujitsu tournaments and I have a better record. I'm confident in my jujitsu techniques.
I trained hard for this fight. I'm certain I can give a good fight. I can probably knock him out with punches or submit him on the ground. I'm confident in my standing game. I've got a new boxing coach and I've really mastered boxing. He's a world famous boxing coach and has also coached the Brazilian boxing team.
My trainer Mauricio Pereira died just before this fight. It was murder and it was shocking news. This has been the hardest time in my life. We've been side-by-side for the past 2 years, going to both Spain and Croatia together. He was more like my best friend than my teacher. It was very shocking, enough to make me consider not fighting. But, he wanted me to win the Grand Prix more than anything, so I shook off the shock and decide to fight.
He was my best friend, my jujitsu coach and my teacher in everything. I made a t-shirt with his picture on it for this match. It's a representation of my feelings that he will always be with me. I think he will be with me in the ring right beside me, supporting me. We will fight together. I think he's always with me. No matter what happens, I want to win this fight for him.