Marlon Sandro file photo: Sherdog.com
TOKYO -- Just after Sengoku Raiden Championship 14 wrapped up Sunday at the Ryogoku Kokugikan, Sherdog.com caught up with SRC featherweight champion Marlon Sandro for his thoughts on the event.
Sandro also discussed a potential crossover bout in Dream and his thoughts on his impending title defense against Shooto 143-pound champion Hatsu Hioki.
Sherdog.com: In an interview with Tatame earlier this month, you mentioned that there was a possibility that you would be fighting in the next Dream as a representative of Sengoku. Do you have any news on the status of that?
Sandro: There aren't really any concrete plans in place just yet. Of course, there was some discussion, and there are some ideas that have come up with us recently, but there isn't anything solid yet.
Sherdog.com: Have you been in contact with Dream? Or has this talk come from SRC? Basically, how did you hear about the prospect of going over to Dream?
Sandro: No, no, SRC and Dream are the ones that are talking it over. I just heard that there were discussions going on between them and that one of the names that came up was mine. I'm not in direct contact with Dream. SRC was the one that presented it to me, but like I said, they haven't decided anything concrete yet.
Sherdog.com: As the featherweight champion of SRC, is there anyone in Dream that you want to face in particular if you do get to go over as a representative?
Sandro: Well, like I told Tatame, I'd really like to rematch [Michihiro] Omigawa. Although, I'd also like to face [Dream featherweight champion] Bibiano Fernandes, which I think would be a really good fight. Personally, I'd also like to face [Hideo] Tokoro, which is another fight that I think would be great.
Sherdog.com: Let's talk about a fight that definitely will happen: an SRC featherweight title defense against Hatsu Hioki. This evening, Hioki defeated Jeff Lawson. Could you give me your thoughts on his performance?
Sandro: Well, as I thought, Hioki is fantastic on the ground. Just like I thought, once it hit the ground, it was over. Everything happened exactly the way I predicted it would.
Sherdog.com: He seems to be next in line to challenge you for your title. What are your thoughts on that?
Sandro: Actually, when I became the champion, I thought Hioki would be the one to challenge me for the title first. He's a very, very good fighter and one I haven't fought yet. So, when we fight, it's going to be big like a grand prix final. I'm going to train my hardest and try my very best to make that fight a great one.
Sherdog.com: It just occurred to me that you're the Pancrase featherweight champion, and Hioki is the Shooto 143-pound champion. Shooto and Pancrase have had a very bitter rivalry for years. Have you ever thought about that and what this fight might mean for that history?
Sandro: Hioki is definitely a champion, but you know, I never really thought about that before.
Sherdog.com: Can you imagine splitting an arena with Hioki? Half the fans that show up being Shooto fans and the other half being Pancrase fans? It would be a very important fight since this would be the first time champions from both promotions are facing one another.
Sandro: [Smirks] That would be really great, I think. It would be the best thing in the world if both promotions' fans would come out to see a show with a fight like that. But personally, I think there would be far more Pancrase fans showing up than Shooto fans.
Sherdog.com: My last question. The last four victories you had were all knockouts, and with each one, your opponents had to be stretchered out of the ring. You're probably the strongest and most explosive featherweight in the world next to your teammate, WEC featherweight champion Jose Aldo. Where exactly do you get such brutal power?
Sandro: [Smiles and says in English] God. From my God.