Yuki Kondo Talks Silva, Training, and How He's Going to Win This Weekend

By Masa Fukui Aug 12, 2004
With less than one week until Yuki Kondo faces "Axe Murderer" Wanderlei Silva at PRIDE "Final Conflict," the Pancrase organization offered an interview session with Yuki Kondo on Tuesday evening at P's Lab Tokyo. There were 15-20 journalists present from different Japanese media, who randomly asked questions for 20 minutes.

Afterwards, I felt that this 29-year-old gentleman is very calm and very confident, even though he said he has just a 50-percent chance to win.

Here's a story about him: When he fought Josh Barnett, he sorted out his personal affairs, preparing for his accidental death in the match. This time he said this fight will be the biggest challenge for his fighting career. It means he expects this fight will be tougher than the Barnett fight -- that's saying something.

So one week to the fight. How do you train now? Just train easy?
Yes, I'm just cruising now. Today, I did easy mitt work and sparred for five three-minute rounds. And my condition is the better than ever

Do you get any information about your opponent Wanderlei Silva?
Not at all. I don't really care.

You were supposed to fight him in May, but the fight was cancelled. So this time you had plenty of time to prepare for this fight didn't you?
Yes I did. I trained hard. And all of my skills are sharpened up very well. My punch became very accurate and my mind has also gotten very sharp. If I say my condition in May is 100, now I'm at 150, and this number will go up to 170 by the day I fight.

Is you're training for this fight the hardest training you have ever had?
Yes, it is.

So you pushed yourself to the limit each every time?
Nahhhh. Maybe not. I didn't push myself to the limit … hahaha.

That means training hasn't been changed from the training for the other fight?
The training I've been doing hasn't changed since the preparation for my May fight (the one which was postponed). I just have been doing same training for long term. Then the whole skill level became better and accurate. Also I think I trained a bit more than spring time, especially for punching skill. And I can concentrate on the fight more than before. My punch technique is much better than before, but I'm not sure if this punch training will work in this fight or not until it's started.

Are there any specific punch you train a lot?
Not really, I train all different kind of punches equally. Jab, straight, hook, upper cut ... some combination.

What skill have you been brushing up the most? Grappling? Striking?
Umm ... I don't know.

What is the existence of Wanderlei mean for you?
Biggest stimulus ... biggest stimulus for my life as fighter.

How come?
Because I think he's the best in the world now.

Do you have the image of how the fight will go?
Yes I do. But it's not that clear. And I don't have strategy either.

How's the preparation for his vicious knees?
Yes, I've been preparing for them. So I think I'm ready for his devastating knees.

Have you watched his videos?
Yes, I've been watching his video. I've watched up to Sakuraba vs. Silva II.

Have you found any his bad habit in the fight?
No I haven't. I don't know, I don't analyze that much. Even if I started, it won't go anywhere. Silva is Silva.

So you haven't find his weak point or anything?
Well, I found some …

Can you tell us?
Hmm, (smile) I think his guard could be his hole. So that could be a chance.

What part of Silva changed the most since his debut in PRIDE?
I don't think nothing is changed. He's been aggressive fighter since his appearance.

You said you've watched more than several of his fights on video. Are there any specific fights that you learned a lot about the way he fights?
Nothing specially. I watch all the fight equally.

Have you ever heard any information from the fighter who already fought Silva? Such as Your ex-teammate Ikuhisa Minowa?
No I haven't. I really didn't have a chance to get that information. And I don't want to get too much information that other people sensed in their fight. I'd rather fight only with my sense.

Sakuraba, Yoshida ... Silva has defeated so many Japanese fighter. Do you take this fight as their revenge?
Not at all.

Sakuraba said: "That's my role to beat the Silva." What do you think about his comment?
What should I comment on that one? (Laughing)

You said you don't have strategy. So you think if you can perform as best as you can, then you can beat him?
Well, I'm not the type of the guy who plans strategy. I think fighting is not about strategy … it's not that easy.

While you're training for this fight, I think you have some certain image that you will win this fight. So if you win, what will be the finishing move.
I think that'll be KO by my punch. I think KO by punch is the highest possibility for ending this fight.

Do you think Silva will answer your choice of war of punches?
Yes I do. I think he will react naturally to the striking battle.

Are you nervous?
Yes I am. But it's very comfortable one. Nothing stressful, but very comfortable.

Will this be a biggest challenge for you in your fight career?
Yes it will. (nodding his head, and closing his eyes for a moment)

Are there any possibility to go distance?
There's always possibility for decision. But I'm not looking for it.

Do you think You're better grappler?
I'm not sure. You'll figure it out when it happens.

You're fighting Semi-Final in front of more than 40,000 people. What do you think about the environment which you're fighting?
I'm very pleased to perform my skill in front of that many people.

Do you think You represent PANCRASE?
I don't really feel like I represent Pancrase. I feel more like, I'm representing myself.

If we look at Silva, we can see when his switch is turned on for the fight … but we can't really see when your switch is turned on for the fight. Do you have that kind of switch on-off moment when you fight?
No I don't have that switch. I want to fight in the ring with just same mentality as I am talking right now.(very calm and confident)

Is that's what you call "Fudou-shin" (Immovable mind/Immovable spirit)?
Yes it is.

Do you have confidence you'll win?
Yes. But it's like 50 percent.

Would you like to say something to the fans?
I'll fight as hard as I can. Thank you very much for your support.
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