Wanderlei Silva went toe-to-toe in an all-out battle with Kazuyuki Fujita in the PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix 2006 Second Round, held on July 1st. Despite his weight disadvantage, Silva won the match by knocking Fujita out and lived up to his nickname of "Mr. Pride." Now the PRIDE Middleweight Champion will enter the Final Round of the PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix.




Pride Fighting Championships: How do you feel when you look back on your difficult fight with Kazuyuki Fujita in the July 1st PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix 2006 Second Round?
Wanderlei Silva: I'm just incredibly happy. More than anything else, I'm happy because I think the fight with Fujita made the fans happy, too.
Pride: When you were speaking on the microphone after the match, you screamed "PRIDE will never die!" What made you say that?
Silva: All the things I said in the ring were my true feelings. PRIDE has always been a great event and there is no mistake that it will continue to produce even more wonderful events in the future. That's what I wanted to say.
Pride: It felt like you were worried about the danger PRIDE faced from losing their TV broadcast and you wanted to protect PRIDE.
Silva: That's exactly it, of course. As the champion, I have to protect this ring. I was asked to compete because Fedor could not and I wondered who else could make the Grand Prix exciting? For that and other reasons, I decided to enter the Grand Prix. As the Champion, I will continue to do my best and not let the fans down.
Pride: When you were in the ring, could you feel the fans' affection for PRIDE?
Silva: I could feel it from everyone. The venue was packed with fans and I've heard that the pay-per-view numbers were good, too. I think that it's because everyone loves PRIDE that they come to watch and watch the pay-per-views. We have to even more to make PRIDE and even greater event and I will do my best, too. I believe that the Final Round of the Grand Prix will be even greater than the Second Round.
Pride: You injured your ribs three weeks before the fight. How are they now?
Silva: I hurt them practicing MMA, cracking a rib. It was so bad that I thought I might not be able to fight in the Grand Prix but I felt that I had a responsibility to fight in this Grand Prix. I also felt that the fans had high expectations for me so I start training again and was somehow able to fight.
Pride: Did your rubs hurt when you went into the fight?
Silva: Truthfully, I felt intense pain just a few days before the fight but I felt I had to fight as the Champion and I was able to overcome the pain and fight.
Pride: You took time off from training, the first time in four years, following the New Year's Eve event. How did you feel during that time?
Silva: I definitely felt anxious. Even though I was resting, I was always thinking about competing and training. There was talk about fighting the Grand Prix Opening Round at that time and I was anxious to restart my training because of that. Once I realized I wasn't going to compete (in the GP), I was able to relax and I restarted my training after having a nice vacation. I was able to spend time with my family, so I think that time off was very meaningful.
Pride: What kind of message do you want to send to the PRIDE fans now?
Silva: I am grateful to all of the fans. I believe that we are able to create wonderful events because of their support. I ask that they continue support both PRIDE and myself in the future. I'm going back to Brazil to train hard and I will do my best in September to give and even greater fight than the last time. And I believe that as long as there are fans that support it, PRIDE will continue forever.
Pride: You want to win the Grand Prix, of course?
Silva: Of course. You have to aim to become the Champion, no matter what event you are in. I will do my best to become the (PRIDE Open Weight) Champion.