Mitsuhiro Ishida Interview

Less than a year since his amazing PRIDE debut, Mitsuhiro Ishida will face PRIDE Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi in the New Year's Eve mega-event, SHOCKWAVE. PRIDE FC sat down with Ishida for an interview before his upcoming big chance at super-stardom.




Pride Fighting Championships: You've really rocketed to the top, facing the Champion, Takanori Gomi, within a year of your PRIDE debut.
Mitsuhiro Ishida: I am very grateful. I knew that what I have been doing was right and I'm glad that I fought once in SHOOTO and four times in PRIDE.
Pride: This has been a busy year in your career.
Ishida: It was busy and it went by so fast. This is the first time that I have fought so much.
Pride: Where do you feel that you have grown the most?
Ishida: Mentally. I've still got my biggest challenge saved for last and I'll know more after this fight is over.
Pride: Honestly, how did you feel when you received the offer for a fight with Gomi?
Ishida: I was surprised at the timing. I had just finished my fight in November and I didn't think I would have any more fights this year.
Pride: I'm sure you are training very hard now. Is your training going well?
Ishida: I'm trying to be careful not to train too much. If you try too hard, you will ruin your body.
Pride: Your primarily train at JB Sports Club with your trainer, Yamada, and at T-BLOOD, right?
Ishida: Yes, that's right. I also train grappling with PARAESTRA Matsudo and I've also been practicing with the Wrestling Club at Nihon University.
Pride: Why did you go back to your backbone of wrestling?
Ishida: I wanted to become very solid in my own game so I could fight against fighters that are on a higher level than me, and you can become lax when training solely with your own team members. I wanted new stimulation and when I spoke to one of my friends, who is an All-Japan Wrestling Champion, he introduced me to Nihon University.
Pride: You must have benefit a lot from your wrestling training.
Ishida: Yes, I did. People say that my wrestling is good, even in mixed martial arts, but I get thrown around like a rag-doll when I train with current wrestlers. (laughing) Training with them lets me know how far I still have to go and I've also realizes that I can become even stronger.
Pride: Please tell us your impression of Gomi.
Ishida: Everyone here is really strong but I think he is a very strong-willed fighter. He doesn't break easily. Actually, I don't think he breaks at all.
Pride: So the keyword for fighting Gomi is "heart"?
Ishida: It will be a battle of wills. When you lose spirit, you ability to punch, throw and submit weaken so now matter what, you can't afford to lose spirit. I will get into the ring with the feeling that he could punch me a hundred times and I won't slow me down.
Pride: Everyone who has traded strikes with Gomi gets caught up in his pace. Have you created a strategy for that?
Ishida: I haven't thought about it yet. I'll talk about it with Yamada, and consider it myself, before the fight.
Pride: How do you rate Gomi's wrestling abilities?
Ishida: He's strong. Gomi is seen as a striker but he's also a good wrestler. Gomi was already competing in an event called Combat Wrestling before I even made my MMA debut. My impression of him at that time was that he is very strong, physically.
Pride: That's right. You competed against him at Combat Wrestling. You lost but it was a close match, ending 2-1.
Ishida: It was after Gomi had broken his orbital bone and he apparently hadn't been training much, though. When I read some magazine articles after the event, he was quoted as only have done some very light sparring. When I heard that and thought about how strong he was, even without training, I realized how big the difference between us is.
Pride: Do you ever think back to that match?
Ishida: Not really. It was a good experience but that was then and this is now. I think both Gomi and I would agree that we are going to be fighting different people than in our previous match.
Pride: What do you want to improve before your fight on the 31st?
Ishida: I want to work on the areas that I'm lacking in and improve those that I excel in. I want to be in my best condition on the day of the fight.
Pride: Gomi said that something to the effect of that the person accepting a challenge is always stronger than the challenger. What do you think about that?
Ishida: I think that's fine. He has his own way of thinking and I have my own way of thinking. I'm not him, after all. I'm sure that I will be considered the challenger in this fight but all I can do is keep moving forward. I don't like to rank fights but this is the most important fight to me and those around me.
Pride: There will be a lot of eyes on your fight. What kind of fight would you like to have?
Ishida: I want to have a fight where we just go at each other, without stopping. If it were a fight like the last title match, with both fighters starting at each other, I think Gomi would be upset, too. The frustration would build up. I don't want to fight that kind of fight either, so I will be going all-out and Gomi will also be going all-out. That's the kind of fight I hope it will be.
Pride: Will you be able to destroy him in the ring like you did Aurelio?
Ishida: Yes! I will fight with everything I have!