Q & A: MIRKO CROCOP AND HIDEHIKO YOSHIDA
07/07/2006

Post-PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix 2006 Second Round Interviews with Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic and Hidehiko Yoshida

Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic

Pride Fighting Championships: After fighting Yoshida, where did you feel he was strong?

Filipovic: I thought he was strong physically and mentally. I felt respect for his courage to rush in.

Pride: Before the fight, how did you plan on fighting against Yoshida?

Filipovic: I wasn't thinking of anything in particular. The first low kick hit perfectly, so I knew he couldn't defend against low kicks. The fight ended safely, without injuring myself.

Pride: You don't seem very happy.

Filipovic: Of course, I'm satisfied with the results and I'm happy. It's a sign of respect for my opponent. I don't want to jump around and be excited around him. It's a sign of respect for him. I'm also a member of Parliament, so I don't want to go crazy after winning. I decided to be reserved.

Pride: Who would you like to fight next?

Filipovic: I have to fight two out of the three fighters to get the belt. The order doesn't matter. I just want the belt.

Pride: Who do you think will be the most dangerous to fight?

Filipovic: I've basically fought all three fighters before. They are all strong. Each has his own strengths and dangerous points. I have to be careful of all my opponents. I pray that it will be me that is standing in the end. I think it will be a very difficult night.

Pride: You went to the ground yourself, which is rare for you. Did you want to submit him?

Filipovic: I didn't really go to submit him and it's not that I'm afraid of going to the ground. I showed that I'm able to respond to changes in the fight.

Pride: Was it unfortunate that Fedor didn't enter this Round?

Filipovic: It's not really unfortunate. Injured fighters can't fight until they are healed and I'm sure he will be when he can.

Pride: You've said before that you don't really like tournaments. How about now?

Filipovic: Tournaments depends a lot on luck. I might fight 15 minutes and my opponent fights 2 minutes, which is a handicap for me. There is good luck and bad luck but if I'm going to be in a tournament, there's nothing I can do about that.

Hidehiko Yoshida

Pride Fighting Championships: How is your leg?

Yoshida: It's swollen but it's not serious.

Pride: Were Mirko's low kicks stronger than you imagined?

Yoshida: Yes. I was ready for his left middle and high kicks but I wasn't watching for his left low kick and that's where he was aiming for.

Pride: What was your strategy?

Yoshida: I wanted to get close to him and take him down. I was aiming for a takedown after making him get tired by striking. He was strong.

Pride: Were you expecting a long fight?

Yoshida: Yes. Mirko was resting on the ground in the beginning and I couldn't put weight on my leg (when standing) because of his left low kicks. It was all because I wasn't careful enough.

Pride: You tired to throw him but you couldn't, right?

Yoshida: I wanted to throw him. I thought it would work but his guard is strong and my legs were hurt (from the low kicks), so I couldn't get my leg out.

Pride: What are your plans after losing this fight?

Yoshida: I want to rest for a while and think about things. I'm too angry with myself right now, so I will think about it later.

Pride: What made you angry?

Yoshida: I wasn't able to perform as I expected. Not being careful and being taken out with his left low kick was pitiful.