by Kumakubo Hideyuki
by Yoko Kondo
Silva was chosen for your opponent in Pride 13 on March 25th.
Regarding Vanderlei, it is said that he might be a strong and
difficult opponent for you.
Well, his knee kick…… I don’t know anything about his
groundwork, but he might be very good at it. And I’m scared of his
Q: Have you seldom fought with fighters mainly based on striking?
have. I did with a strong fighter named Rene Rose [?] who was about
two meters tall. (laughing) [In June, 1996, in his U-Inter period,
Sakuraba defeated him with leg-lock] I felt like I was launched into
the air [futtoba sareta kanji] by his one low kick.
Q: But Rose
was a strike-only fighter, wasn’t he?
he was. I think Silva is much more accustomed to this rule.
Q: In the
fight with Metzger, he fought equally even on the ground.
didn’t watch that part. I don’t know how much ground technique
Metzger has, either.
Q: After all,
Silva defeated him by KO.
it resulted from Silva’s head-butt, which was against the rule.
Metzger was beaten at the moment when Silva's head butt put him on
queer street [fura fura shita]. It is the same as what happened
in the first fight between Kerr and Vovchanchyn. If knee-kicks had
been allowed there, Kerr would have been more cautious of it and
consequently could have avoided being KOed. But he took a knee-kick
contrary to his expectation that there would be no knee-kick, so he
was knocked out. Thus, I think the Silva vs. Metzger fight should be
ruled a "no-contest". I wonder if my sharp comment on that
fight makes Silva angry. (laughing)
Q: It is a
great pleasure to watch you fight with a fighter mainly based on
best way is to get him into the ground.
Q: So Silva, a
striker, is not a difficult opponent for you?
There is no difference between strikers and grapplers in terms of the
timing of their attacks.
Q: Kicks and
knee-kicks will be allowed on the ground under a new rule.
I have to do is to counter attacks against attacks. No, I should
attack before being attacked. It is not good to imagine only that I
would be attacked.
Q: When the
rule is changed, do you train for it?
I don’t. Basically I train only wrestling as usual, and sparring for
striking a little bit. As I said many times before, a key to success
is not to adjust to the pace or rule of an opponent, but to get him
into my own world at my pace.
Q: Put him
into your pattern?
there would be no problem if I could put him into my favorite pattern.
continuously fought with the Gracies mainly based on the groundwork.
Can you get back the sense for the fight with a striker?
Sakuraba: The timings of taking a tackle and giving a blow are the
same. Only a little difference between them is to be cautious not to
get a blow, or to be cautious after being grappled. I am training with
Mr. Satake. He is training how to avoid tackles while striking, and
I’m training how to avoid his strikes and take tackles. If I could
lift Mr. Satake, I would be able to lift Silva. Their size is
different [Satake is heavier by about 30 lbs. than Vanderlei].
Q: Did you
think that you would one day fight with Silva?
I wanted to fight with him some day, because I haven’t fought with
him even once so far.
Q: Is he a
desirable opponent for you?
Even if I am knocked out, it won’t hurt me. But I don’t want
punches on the body, which are so painful to me. (laughing) If he
knocks me down, I want him to do it by a blow on my chin without
giving me any pain. Chin, or around here (pointing the back of the
head). A blow from somewhere I can’t see is very effective, isn’t
it? Look at the fight between Mr. Uno [Kaoru Uno] and Mr. Rumina! [Rumina
Sato]. When Mr. Rumina tried to stand up, he took a a punch without
noticing it coming. So he was on queer street [fura fura shita],
although it was not a strong punch. But I think Mr. Rumina felt good
with it. I want Silva to knock me down that way. (laughing) If so, I
will accept it. But if he gives me a pain, I will give it back to him
strike me on the body!”….(laughing)
haven’t done much exercise for abs, either. (laughing) My training
for abs is only to such a degree which is enough for getting up from
the under position on the ground in a sparring. And I want Silva to
lengthen his hair this time. A close-cropped head is slippery.
Q: It seems
that he sometimes lengthens his hair a little bit and pricks with his
don’t care at all. I will attack him with my beard too.
Q: A prickling attack! (laughing)
(laughing) You will lose if you think that you hate this prickle,
because it means you are already trapped into his strategy. Even in
training, if I endure the pain with a poker face, an opponent stops it
wondering if it doesn’t work.
Q: There is
some fighter in Muay Thai who smiles when he feels pain.
don’t react to it at all, or just say, “I don’t feel anything”
in a low voice. Then an opponent might start attacking again out of
anger, but finally he will let you go as long as you endure it.
Q: I see.
Don’t you feel fear for his fighting style or his physical ability?
think his physical ability is great. But no matter how great his
physical ability, he doesn’t stand on four legs, so he falls down
without any exception. He doesn’t have eyes on the back of his head;
he is off his guard without fail. So I will watch for that chance, and
make it somehow.
Q: Silva says
many times, “I will beat Sakuraba as badly as he has to go to the
Well, he might try to draw attention by saying something violent.
Q: He also
says that he doesn’t like you, because you are not serious in the
I am doing “honoo no koma” [translator’s note: It is his
original technique, in which he turns the body of an opponent who is
lying on the back on the ground.] or other technique seriously. I am a
professional fighter. I get money from people for my fights. I don’t
think that just beating an opponent is considered a professional
fight. I think he should be aware of it. If he has the same experience
as mine who lost the fan base, in U-inter and Kingdom [defunct pro
wrestling organizations], which I belonged to, he will see how to make
spectators happy or how to draw attention of fans. I think he should
learn about it.
Q: But Silva
makes the spectators excited by a good fight every time.
only thing he does is beating, isn’t it? If so, why doesn’t he go
and fight in K-1?
your feeling about him, the fight Sakuraba vs. Silva sounds more
Then, I will make him happy with my “shiawase chop” [Sakuraba's
original unique "happy chop"]. (laughing)