Pre-PRIDE SHOCKWAVE 2006 Interview with Shinya Aoki and Joachim Hansen

Pre-PRIDE SHOCKWAVE 2006 Interview with Shinya Aoki and Joachim Hansen




Shinya Aoki: Everyone around me is in New Year's Eve mode and although you would expect me to be so as well, I'm not. I feel like I would before any other fight. I don't feel anything special because my opponent is Hansen. I just want to be my same, usual self. I'm not going to study his videos and try to do something special because it's Hansen. Earlier I said that Hansen will either punch me to death or I will choke him to death, and my feelings haven't changed. Kill or be killed. Submit him or be KO'd. That is certain.
Any of Hansen's' strikes will hurt if they land, right? I think they're all scary, including his knees. His punches are scary, too. His elbows to the body, stomps and pounding are all scary. (laughing) Hansen has a pounder's image but I'm confident that I won't get punched on the ground. Actually, I'm confident in my kicks from the bottom. I'm confident in my ground fighting, too, so there is nothing in particular I should fear.
If the fight goes to the ground, he will be on my turf and if we standwell, I'd rather grapple. (laughing) I can go after joint-locks from any position. I think it will be a good fight. It looks like Hansen has grown his hair out. He was growing his hair out before his fight against Kawajiri. Now I've got a prediction. I'm going to pluck his hair! (laughing)
Will I finally show off a standing submission? Well, I say that every time and I always want to try one. I want to make this fight special. I always try to conquer my fear of going in for a submission, where others would look for safety. All humans have fear and all humans have something that they just can't do. I want to challenge my own limitations.
I've got a foul cup ready. [Note Hansen lost to Kawajiri in their SHOOTO match due to an illegal groin-kick by Hansen.] I'm ready to take all of his low blows. I've been training my groin. (laughing)
I've grateful for being able to fight in the New Year's Eve event. PRIDE has brought me up here and let me fight on a stage where the fans will definitely be watching. I feel very happy that I am able to fight in PRIDE, not just on New Year's Eve. Everyone asks me what I used to do on New Year's Eve and the truth is, I just watched television. When I was 19, my friends and I would get together and watch.
I focused on grappling in my training for this fight. It's not just a return to my roots. If you think about what is being demanded of me, people want to see grappling. As I say every time, I want to submit my opponent clearly, in a way that the fans can easily understand. I have submitted my opponents in both of my PRIDE fights so far and now people expect me to be able to submit my opponents. I'm extremely grateful for that. This time I want to give a fast-paced fight and either clearly submit him, or be beaten by him.
I've got some new winter-edition tights and they are really amazing. You will really be surprised. They aren't yellow. I think you'll be embarrassed if you expect them to be yellow. (laughing) My motorcycle and my helmet are yellow but this is the end of 2006, so I'm going to "escape from yellow" and go with a new color. If I win this fight, I will accept any fights I'm given next year. I fight Melendez or anybody else that's tough. There isn't anyone that is weak in PRIDE, though.
There are two big Lightweight fights. Kawajiri and Melendez are probably going to slug it out, so that will be a good fight, right? There's no way to tell who the winner will be until we actually see the fight, though. I think Ishida and Gomi will be a good fight, too. Personally, I hope that Gomi will stay strong and win. Gomi is the Champion and I hope they will get an exciting fight that will motivate the rest of us.
My fight will be serious and my tights will be serious, too, so please support me! (laughing)
Joachim Hansen: You noticed that I'm growing my beard and my hair out? I've kept them short since I was 16 but my hair started to fall out recently, and I realized that this would be my last chance in life to have long-hair. (laughing) I haven't decided if I will keep it long for the fight, yet. I've been growing it since summer, so if I shave it now my head will be really white. It won't look cool. (laughing) Speaking of which, I was growing my hair out when my fight with Kawajiri was stopped because of the groin kick. I didn't do it on purpose last time and I don't have any plans to attack Aoki's groin, either, but if it happens accidentally again this time, I will shave my head the next time I fight. (laughing)
The time between my fights doesn't mean anything at all. I wanted to fight in PRIDE but I just didn't receive the chance from PRIDE. Instead, I have been competing in amateur boxing events since autumn. In a sense, I haven't been away from fighting and I have always maintained my killer instinct. I had two boxing fights before my fight with Azeredo. This time I have done seven boxing matches in Norway, Denmark and Sweden. My boxing record is seven wins and two losses. I'm training in a boxing gym but I don't really want to become a professional boxer. Improving my boxing techniques and fighting in boxing fights is just one part of my mixed martial arts training. My punching techniques have improved the most from this training.
Aoki is a SHOOTO fighter. He is one weight class above me and he will have to cut weight for this fight, and I will gain weight for it. Aoki is taller and heavier than me, and his grappling techniques are excellent, but I think I am the better striker. I have to be careful of Aoki's arm-bars and triangle chokes on the ground. I know he's a tricky fighter that likes to jump at you, and I'm ready for that. I'm not apprehensive about that. I have my own game plan and I know how I'm going to use it. Aoki said that he would either choke me to death in this fight or I will punch him to death? Well, in that case, I will punch him to death.
Other than my fight, I'm interested in the Gomi VS Ishida and Melendez VS Kawajiri Lightweight fights. If Ishida is able to tackle Gomi, I think Ishida will win. If Gomi can stop Ishida's tackles like he did against Kawajiri, Gomi will probably win. Melendez and Kawajiri are both excellent fighters, so I can't predict that fight.
I will fight with all my strength on the 31st and do my best to win and give everyone an amazing fight. The more that people cheer for me, the more violently I will punch Aoki.