Pre-PRIDE SHOCKWAVE 2006 Interview with Takahiro Gomi and Mitsuhiro Ishida

Pre-PRIDE SHOCKWAVE 2006 Interview with Takanori Gomi and Mitsuhiro Ishida




Takanori Gomi: Only two days until the fight. Time went by so fast. I just arrived with some of my students by car. I can relax when I'm with my students but there will probably be a lot of pressure today and tomorrow. I will be able to flip the switch, though. I've been training hard at my gym and this is also my 3rd year in PRIDE, so I'm used to it. I feel mentally steady and I have been able to train whenever I wanted, so I feel secure about that. The students at my gym were really kind, gathering together for training even though it's cold outside.
My conditioning is perfect. I focused on grappling in my training. My striking ability may have gotten a little worse. I worked on everything I could with my students. I haven't worked out so much with pro fighters. To be honest, the difference between pro fighters and amateurs doesn't really matter when you're training. Training is just that, training. When you're talking about martial arts, it's not guaranteed that you'll gain anything by training with professionals. If you think while you are training, then you'll gain something. I've been a pro for 10 years, after all. And now I'm the Champion, so who am I going to ask to teach me now? My students at the gym and the wrestling team at Kokushikan University helped me out a lot, so I think I will be able to live up to expectations.
I feel relaxed now. It's a non-title fight and I feel like I've gone back to my 1st or 2nd year in PRIDE, where I could go all out in my fights. Like the Grand Prix in my 2nd year. Of course, you have to win the Grand Prix and I felt like it was a public bout that I couldn't lose. Once you're the Champion, though, you begin to feel closed in. You have to win, and win will. You can't betray the fans. Now that I've been around the block, I don't feel pressure as the Champion. This is a non-title fight, so I feel relaxed. I'm coming back to the ring like a monster.
I want to knock my opponent out of the ring. When this fight is over, the year is over for me, so I will be fighting without any regard to what happens after that. After my fight in November, I knew I wanted to fight on New Year's Eve. Not fighting on New Year's Eve is just lonely. My body is used to it and although my last fight would have been better if I had won by KO, let's just say that I've saved it up for this fight.
There are some magnificent Heavyweight fights in this SHOCKWAVE but I hope this event will establish the Lightweight Division in PRIDE. This is a huge venue, after all. If I can fight on the level of my fight with Pulver in the 1st year and Sakurai in the 2nd year, I will be able to show something that will be just as good as the Heavyweight fights. This is my third year and I want to help establish the Lightweight Division.
Saitama Super Arena is my favorite venue. I fight my strongest there and it's an amazing venue. Tickets are selling well, apparently, and I want to make a sold-out audience go crazy. Wanderlei Silva won't be fighting this time, so I want to take up Silva's usual SHOCKWAVE role. There are 10 fights in this event, so it's a big long but not as long as the last BUSHIDO. (laughing) New Year's eve is a festival, after all, so I hope everyone will be a little patient if it runs long. After that, I hope everyone will go have a drink and have some fun.
I've got a hot springs vacation and a party already reserved for after the fight. I haven't gone out to drink with my students yet, so we're going to have an end-of-year party, celebration party, and a New Year's party all in one. So, I want to finish this fight with no injuries.
The real Takanori Gomi will close out the year on New Year's Eve. I hope everyone will go crazy and have a lot of fun. And, I hope you will all have a happy new year!
Mitsuhiro Ishida: I'm more nervous than in my last four fights. I'm challenging the toughest fighter in the world, of course, so I think I'm nervous in a good sense. My friends are still here, so I'm relaxed but when I'm alone, I'm may get too nervous. I start to think about stuff at night and sometimes I get too tired from thinking before I go to bed.
My training went well. It's perfect. I trained a lot in boxing, so I hope I will be able to use that well in the fight. Of course I will tackle but that will depend on the situation. I don't to do tackle after tackle. I want to try different things. I don't have to lose weight at 73kg, so I haven't been weighing myself and although you can't tell because I'm wearing clothes, people say that I've gotten bigger when I take them off. I've probably gained a kilogram over my normal weight of 75kg.
I have a lot of Gomi's videos at home, and I watched them a lot. (laughing) I wasn't watching them for hours and hours but I watched them a lot. I watched the Lightweight Grand Prix fights and his last title fight, too, but his movements in that fight and the Grand Prix fight were completely different, so the title match didn't help at all. His fight with David Baron and Gomi's Grand Prix fights helped. He's tough, of course. He has a strong heart. He doesn't back down when he gets hit and he will never show his weaknesses.
We were trash talking, weren't we? I said a few things, too. (laughing) I said what I thought so I'm not going to take it back, and nothing is guaranteed in a fight. I don't think there are any unbeatable opponents. He said a lot of things, too, but it was just motivation for me. (laughing) That's great. If we get each other excited and have a great fight, no one will complain.
Unfortunately, people didn't think much of my last two fights. There were some people that thought my opponent wasn't very tough when I had my first fight (in PRIDE), but my opponents in the last two fights were really strong. It's unfortunate that people think I fought weak opponents. I want to prove that the opponents I have fought were not weak. I want to prove that everyone I have fought was tough.
I was off in a corner of the venue at last year's SHOCKWAVE, cheering for Mach. It was snowing the year before so I watched it on TV. I never really felt like going to the venue until two years ago because it was New Year's Eve but after going last year, it was amazing. I realized how much more interesting it is to see it live. (laughing) I never expected to be standing in the same ring a year later and be fighting the opponent that Mach was fighting. It's shocking. I think all of the mixed martial artists want to fight on New Year's Eve. It's a real luxury for me to be on the show, and even then to be fighting the strongest fighter in the world. This is going to be a war, and I'm going to destroy him.
There are several things I'd like to do after the fight but depending on the outcome, I'll either go out somewhere or I'll just go home. I want to win and greet the New Year with a good feeling.
My family just tells me to do my best. And asking if I've got their tickets yet. (laughing) All of my family is coming to watch, and since my family has taken care of me this year, I want to pay them back. My family always comes to watch but my mother just started coming to watch from April of this year. Apparently, she's hooked on it now. This is the only way that I can repay my parents, so that's what I will do.
Kawajiri and I were really motivated and I think we trained well. I earned this chance on my own and I want to take advantage of it. Kawajiri probably has his own revenge to get, and probably doesn't expect, or want, me to get revenge for him. He has his revenge story, and I have my own story. We're friends, though, so I hope we will both win going into the New Year.
It's difficult to predict Kawajiri VS Melendez and Aoki VS Hansen. I'm really looking forward to those fights. These are fights that I, as a fan, want to see. To be honest, I want to watch them ringside. I think these fights will become a part of PRIDE history. All three of the Lightweight fights will. Will I be aiming for the best Lightweight bout? Yes. Losing isn't interesting, so I want to win in the best bout.
I'll play videos games and relax for the next 48 hours. I've been playing on a PSP lately, so that's what I'll be doing. I want to relax and be in good mental condition when I get into the ring.