–Although most fighters are in the same situation, how are you feeling ahead of this match
having been out for 10 months?
“I don’t have any special feeling towards this just because it’s been a while. I only think that if I pull out the tools I have, it’ll go well.”
–How are you feeling now, one week out? And, do you have anything you usually do in the
days before and just before a fight?
“This is my first fight-day weigh ins, and with the special regulation of one weight class up, I feel mentally at ease. Especially the mental aspect. It’s been much easier to focus on my strategy and prepare psychologically before the fight. Without the ressure of a weight cut, my mind isn’t pulled away, so I can concentrate more on the match itself, my game plan and my fight style. So, this time at 77kg it’s the heaviest I would fight at and I’m bringing that powerful feeling on fight day.”
–Have you changed your training at all for this match?
“I haven’t really changed the way I train, but I’ve been working over my strategy and weaving it into my fight style.”
–You come from a wrestling background, but you’re known as a striker.
“Yeah, it’s not that I don’t like grappling. It’s more that I like striking, it fits what I want to show and that’s how I want to fight.”
–What do you want to show the Pancrase fans this time?
“I need to show my spirit. I don’t want to lose because of a weak heart. I don’t mind losing to anything except my spirit. So, I want to go in with an unbreakable heart – I’m prepared to show that I won’t back down. I want to press the action, break him down and win.”
–How do you see him coming out this time?
Well, he’s also a high-level all-rounder, and he’s relentless. I imagine he’ll bring his grappling. He has a strong heart – he’s a Shooto champion – and he’s now in Pancrase to get his revenge on [Takasuke] Kume. He’s strong for sure, but I want to show him that it’s not going to be that easy at this level.”
–Do you see any holes in Matsumoto’s game?
“Yes, there are holes, but I won’t say where they are. I will say that I’ll be going after them.”
–How do you see things playing out this Sunday at Studio Coast?
“ˆIt’s not going to be calm. From the first round I’m going to give him a hard time. It’ll be hammer and tongs. He’ll also be trying to put the pressure on me, but I’m ready with the same. I’m looking forward to it.”
–What will the fans see from you this time?
“I’ve had a rough patch lately, but I want to show my real strength and give a solid win.”