From Kakutougi Tsushin No. 301
May 23, 2002
Interviewed by Asaoka Hideki
Translated by Yoko Kondo
Q: First of all, I would like to ask you
straightforwardly. Have you decided on a schedule for your comeback to
Rickson: I will to fight again, but nothing has been decided
yet about when or where.
Q: There is a rumor that you said that you would
retire after one more fight. Is it true?
Rickson: No, it's not true. I've never thought about
retirement, or limited how many times I will fight again, such as once
more, or twice more, for example.
Q: Some mass media reported that you would fight
within this year.
Rickson: It's not true either. I can't control
what people say, and I don't take it seriously whatever people say about
me. I hope my fans will resist being carried away by rumors too.
Q: Then no details, such as when, where, or whom,
have been decided yet, have they?
Rickson: That's right.
Q: You said that you've never thought about
retirement, but don't you have any prospect of it?
Rickson: When I find it difficult to keep up
with the ordinary training, then will be the time to retire, but it has
nothing to do with age. I think the day to retire will come someday. But
now I don't feel weaker than before at all, so I don't think about
retirement. Of course, my strength has declined to some extent for sure,
but experience and mental aspects compensate for the decline in
strength, so nothing has changed in terms of a total balance compared
Q: Suppose there are three Ricksons, 30-year-old
Rickson, Rickson at present, and 50-year-old Rickson. Which Rickson do
you think is strongest?
Rickson: It is myself at present. When I was young, I
had strength. But, on the other hand, I wasted energy. Now I don't waste
energy and and have more experience and spirit covering my strength. If
I choose the strongest one among three, it is myself at present. And if
I have only one opponent, I will choose myself at present. However, if I
have to defeat four or five opponents in one day, maybe 30-year-old
Rickson will be the best for that.
Q: Then, can I expect to be able to watch you fight
ten years from now?
Rickson: It's possible!
Q: How have you been for the last two years since
your fight with Funaki?
Rickson: Since I had to support my family after my
son's death, I couldn't train with total concentration. Even now, it is
a little far from 100%. But now that time has gone on a little bit, if
my fight is arranged, I am ready to get into the training within a
few months with complete concentration as I did before.
Q: Is there anyone you want to fight with?
Rickson: I've been watching various fighters on TV,
but there is nobody who draws my interest. I have confidence to win with
my own strategy according to who my opponent will be, but I don't see
any fighter whom I really want to fight with. I am a human, of course,
so I might lose if my strategy is wrong. But if I fight without any
mistake, I have confidence to defeat any of the fighters who are on top
Q: As your opponents, the names of Ogawa and Choshu
Riki, a pro wrestler, have been mentioned so far.
Rickson: Certainly there were offers, but nothing has
been put into definite shape.
Q: It was said before that you would fight with
anyone who the promoter matched against you if the contract
was made between the you and the promoter.
Rickson: But, even if the money is attractive, I
don't feel like fighting with somebody who isn't a match for me. I have
no intention to go in a fight only for the purpose of mobilizing
spectators and making a lot of money for the promoter.
Q: Well, then have you been watching the fights of
K-1 fighters who recently started to enter vale tudo?
Rickson: Yes, I have.
Q: How do you think about
Mirko Crocop who is
said to be strong now? Is he a match for you as your opponent?
Rickson: Mmmmm....... No doubt that he is a great
striker. But if I can take him into grappling, I don't think he
will be a match for my technique. However, I think he is an amazing
fighter on the whole. And if he lands a solid punch, he could win.
Q: So he might be an opponent who is match for you?
If other K-1 fighters enter vale tudo, do you think they will do well?
Rickson: In vale tudo, 30% in the fight is standing
work. That is, grapplers have a possibility to lose in that part of 30%,
but the rest 70% is ground work. It sometimes happens to strikers that
it takes a whole life to learn ground work. Considering this point, they
are far from mastering perfectly how to fight in vale tudo, although K-1
fighters continue to improve their technique.
Q: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Vanderlei Silva, also
Brazilians like you, have been doing very well lately in Pride. They
sometimes say that they are stronger than Rickson.
Rickson: I know they have been doing well in Pride,
and it is good for a fighter to be confident. But I have my own ideas
too. Although Nogueira is big, his technique isn't complete. I am
confident I would beat them too, so the fact that they say they would
beat me doesn't mean much.
Q: And it is said that Yoshida Hidehiko, a Japanese
judo-ka and a gold medallist in the Olympic, will enter vale tudo,
possibly Pride. Do you think he can succeed in vale tudo?
Rickson: I've heard that he is a great judo-ka. I
don't know what kind of training he has done so far, but vale tudo is
completely different from judo. Asked how much he can cope with vale
tudo with only judo technique, it would be about 20%. For example, if he
fights in Pride, his opponent won't wear do-gi so that he won't be able
to hold him, and he will have a different feeling from usual when he
grapples the opponent. Even if he throws the opponent on the ground, it
is not the end. He has to submit him after that. It can be said that it
is completely a different situation from the mental point of view too.
So if he has been doing such kinds of training so far, he could succeed
to some extent. No matter how great his judo is, I feel uneasy to say
that he will do well in vale tudo with only judo technique.
Q: No gold medallists of judo in the Olympic have
entered vale tudo so far. Do you want to fight with a gold medallist of
judo in vale tudo?
Rickson: The fact that he has an Olympic gold medal
doesn't impress me as far as his being a vale tudo competitor. Even if I
defeated him, I don't think I could have a great satisfaction, because
the gold medallist has to fight with me in a different game from the one
he got his gold medal for. But having got a gold medal of that
particular sport is a result of his great efforts. I respect him for
Q: This is the last question. We are in a position to
make kakutogi magazines, but when the terrorism occurred on September
11th last year, there were many kakutougi fans who must have felt
"what's the point of training to fight man to man without
weapons?" Didn't you feel it meaningless to do kakutogi when that
Rickson: A lot of people lost their lives in one
moment. It was as if all my victories evaporated in one moment.
But what I think we have to reflect on more deeply is how to get
confidence and courage to overcome such a terrible tragedy. That is what
I felt anew by going through that incident.
Other Rickson interviews on GTR:
(Athra Pt. 1)
(Athra Pt. 2)
(from Herois do Ringue)
(from Gracie DNA)
Rickson (from Tatame)
(c) 2002, Yoko Kondo. All rights
Rickson Choke documentary below. It's pretty good.