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Global Training Report


Interview with 

Caol Uno 

Tsugi no Yume (次の夢)

Next Dream

From Gong Kakutougi, September 16, 2002

Translated by Yoko Kondo


Unexpectedly Uno asked “how did you know that?  I was at a loss, not knowing what he meant. Then he continued. “If I lost in that fight, I was wondering if I should retire. But I didn’t tell anybody about it. Why…..?” Now I understood what he meant, and I said I heard about it from Mr. Kevin. Uno nodded in a big motion. What Uno was talking about was an interview article about the  fight with Yves Edwards in UFC 37. Uno was talking in his usual bright tone in the interview at that time, but he was showing a different face in private.. Mr. Kevin Yamazaki told that Uno was showing a tough face. “He is considerably nervous. He looks different from usual. Maybe he thinks this would be a key fight in his life.” Uno was at a crossroads.

Last November, he was knocked out by B. J. Penn at 11 seconds after the fight started. After coming back to Japan, he was told to stop the training for one month by President Kubo of  GCM, considering that he should go away from training so that he could refresh himself and start over again. But even after starting training again, it seems troubles happened to him continuously such as hurting an old wound.

Facing the come-back fight for six months which he finally managed to get by clearing various hurdles, what was growing in his mind was only negative feeling like that there would be no more chance if he lost to Edwards. Uno’s determination was shown here and there in his words in the article at that time.

Uno won over Edward by a narrow decision. After that, I heard that he was spending busy days, doing such things as working on "Contenders" as a producer or performing matches in All Japan Pro-wrestling.

Things completely changed due to the fact that the champion Pulver left UFC. The empty champion belt was decided to be contended by the tournament, and Uno was chosen for entry along with B. J. Penn and others. But it was a question whether it would be good for Uno to participate in the tournament. So I asked Uno a question which has been on my mind for a long time, "Do you really want the belt of UFC?" Uno fell silent for a moment, and then he smiled. "In fact, I was asked the same question the other day."

"What do you want to be?"  Uno was asked  by someone somewhere. Uno was at a loss for answer. "What are you aiming for?" Uno remained silent for a while, and answered "I want to be the champion in UFC." Then that man started to be mad with anger. "Why didn't you answer quickly? If you are a strong fighter, you can say that. Why can't you say that? Because something is bothering you, isn't it?" The man was drunk. But his word, "something is bothering you", stuck into Uno's heart. " That man was drunk. But because he was drunk, he told the truth, didn't he? What he told me then really meant  me."

He stopped talking here, swallowed,, and started speaking off the cuff. "A long time ago, I didn't hesitate to say, 'I want to fight with Rumina Sato'. I could immediately say that I wanted to fight with Rumina Sato rather than to be the champion. I remember anew that I could say that clearly when I was interviewed a long time ago. Now I am saying something which I don't really mean, and saying it with hesitation. But now I realize it. What the man said that motivation improves technique. If you have an aim, you will train for it. I remember the words even during the training. When the man asked me again, "what do you want to be?" as he was leaving, I could immediately say that I wanted to be the champion in UFC. I thought then that's it , my mind is settled now. I don't have special desire to be famous or to earn money, but now I have a clear aim in my mind that I want to get  the champion belt of  UFC. So I think I can approach the training with a different feeling  than before. "

Asked why you are doing kakutogi, there are some fighters who can answer instantly, "because this is my job." They are pro-fighters like Sakuraba or Kanehara . But Uno is a type of fighter who needs motivation other than money or honor to exchange blows in the ring (octagon). During the shoot period, Uno had a clear aim, that is, Rumina Sato. Nothing bothered him spending days and nights on doing a hard training. When he looked ahead, there was always Rumina in front of him. Fighting with Rumina was the dream and motivation to fight for Uno. 

But from the moment he won successive victories over Rumina, Uno lost a clear aim. He gave the belt of shoot back and aimed at "major league" UFC. But fighting in UFC was too low a hurdle to be his next dream. As the light-weight class had just started at that time, the number of the fighters was limited  and most of them were unknown fighters. Uno, a former shoot champion and a man who defeated Rumina, was a desirable fighter for UFC. However, a favorable treatment, the fight was matched against Pulver for the champion belt in the first entry to UFC three months later from the fight with Rumina, didn't turn out to be good for Uno. 

Uno always wishes that he wants to be skillful and strong, and has been training for it. He has been learning various techniques by taking lessons under various kinds of people and asking for the training at the other dojos. Compared to the shoot period, his power must be improved remarkably. He has increased a lot in the number of technique he can use including punches and kicks. 

However, what I felt from the technique Uno used in a fight was his passive attitude like that he just ate something prepared in front of him. In the shoot period, even if his technique was not so skillful, he had been fighting with all his heart aiming at the big target, "the fight with Rumina". But that fighting style has faded away. Even watching the fight with Edward, I couldn't wipe off my impression that there was more vigor in his fights during the shoot period. 

Just as he is in a maze, the entry to the championship tournament has been decided. I thought if Uno participates in this tournament with the same attitude as he has had so far, he might be easily crushed in the first match. I felt even danger that "Fighter Uno" might come to an end with the fight with Din Thomas this time, taking it as his peak when he fought with Rumina two times with the best motivation.

"But I'm different now." Uno said clearly. "Because I have the next dream to get the belt of UFC."

Uno was walking with dragging feet a little bit that day. It is because in Club Contenders two days ago, he performed an exhibition match with Magunam Sakai whose physical size is similar to Din Thomas under the kick rule, and he was exposed to a storm of low kicks from Sakai. "Mr. Sakai kicked the thigh with a pinpoint precision. It was painful. When I fought with Din Thomas in shoot last time, his reach was so long that it was difficult to get in. Mr. Sakai has a long reach too, so he reminded me of the feeling that I had then. It was very a good practice for me. "

Three years ago, Uno defeated Din Thomas by sleeper. But since then, Din Thomas has triumphed over Pulver and Perling [spelling?] and others, except for losing to B. J. Penn. No doubt that he is getting stronger than three years ago. 

"I don't have a feeling that I won last time. I just have an image what it was like. But  I will do it with a fresh mind as if I am fighting with him for the first time. Will I get  my revenge on B. J. Penn in the final match? It is too far to see it. First I must face Din Thomas. And the program made by Mr. Kevin will start from next week, so I have to clear it anyway. I heard that the program Mr. Kosaka is doing now is very hard. His legs were trembling like a little deer (laugh). "

Recently there were two fights which stimulated Uno. One was Genki Sudo's successful debut in the UFC by submission in July, and other was Abe (elder brother) KO victory over Nogueira. "Mr. Sudo's victory became stimulating to me. But I can't think of fighting with Mr. Sudo in UFC yet. What was more stimulating to me was Mr. Abe's KO win. " 

Abe 's KO victory resulted from the experiences of standing fights putting on boxing gloves in the ring of MA kick or SB after he was defeated by Puring [spelling?]. Uno is taking it as an inspiration to improve his striking technique. "It seems that people think I am performing only exhibition matches, but the exhibition match with Mr. Kobayashi was a valuable experience for me. I just took a lot of punches without making a counterattack in the first round. And in the second round what I did was just to keep the face up. Then when I trained striking after that, something was different. When I fought with Mr. Sakai this time, I kept it in my mind not to look down and to launch one punch somehow to him. As the pressure from Mr. Sakai was quite different from that in the training, it was a good lesson. Compared to Mr. Abe who did real fights, the effect must be different in degree. But it was a good experience for myself, so I think it will  be useful for the fight with Din Thomas. I am standing on the edge this time again (laugh). I hope I can do a good training and a good fight. I want to show the fight through which the fans can find me a little different than before. I am looking forward to seeing what the fight would be like now that I have one big aim just like a long time ago. "

Uno has a new motivation--to be UFC champion. I wonder what kind of fight he will show us in the octagon. 

I can't help having a feeling that Uno, with his new motivation and improved technique, will explode in the octagon.


Other GTR interviews with Caol Uno:

Caol Uno after fight with B.J. Penn

  Caol Uno from Kami no Puroresu

(c) 2002, Yoko Kondo, all rights reserved.






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