Part 2 of
By Eduardo Alonso
Originally published in the
May 2001 issue of Full Contact Fighter
FCF: At the IVC events you fought under the basic NHB rules. Most events modified their rules over the time, and now Pride is getting closer to the old NHB rules of the IVC. In your opinion, what is the future of the NHB rules?
VS: I believe it is to get as closest of a real fight as possible. I think that this is what the hardcore NHB fan want to see. People say, "oh, but It’s too violent" and stuff, but this is what the public wants to see! People wants to see trading, knees to the face; they want to see blood and that’s why I don’t care when I bleed, I believe that you have to take some bombs too, it’s part of the show, It makes the fight exciting. I don’t mind taking punches, I don’t mind cutting my face, I believe the tendency is to become more real, to win an even bigger public. Whoever can’t take it this way, just leave it. I’m here! I train everything! If I have to headbutt, I’ll do it. If I have to kick the guy on the ground, I’ll do it. I don’t have mercy, I only stop when the referee tells me to do it or when the guy sleeps, then I stop! Otherwise not.
FCF: After your fight in UFC Brazil, you fought again twice in the UFC, winning against Tony Petarra, and fighting for the title against Tito Ortiz in Japan. Is this fight still on your mind? Do you intend to fight Tito again in a rematch in the near future?
VS: Of course. I believe that nowadays I’m another fighter; I’m training a lot more. I believe that what happened in that fight won’t happen again. It was an ugly fight, a stalled fight. If all of a sudden he learned how to punch, how to kick, he would become an even better fighter. He is a good fighter, but people don’t want to see that style of fighting anymore, because to take a guy down and keep pounding…we have to agree that the people have invested millions in an event, and for the guy to do that in the main event is really a shame. And with all that size that he has, he managed to hold me down, and he did a safe fight to win, you know? He didn’t do a fight that the public wants to see. I think that if he accepted to trade punches with me, then I would respect him, I would think that he is man enough to trade punches with me. A guy who trades punches with me must be a real man, ’cause most of the guys don’t have the guts to trade punches with me. And for a guy bigger than me, who has all that size, good at wrestling, to do that style of fighting…it’s easy, you know? And anyway I took the fight till the end. I knocked him down, I was knocked down, and those were the highlights of the fight. I believe that if he really accepted to trade with me and didn’t just keep holding me, we would have everything that it takes to make a great spectacle next time.
FCF: Pride was really the event that made you famous. Your first fights in Pride attracted everybody’s attention, with wins over Carl Malenko, Daijiro Matsui and Bob Schrijber. Was there any difficulty adapting to Pride in the beginning?
VS: I think the only thing was that stuff of the guy being on all fours and you couldn’t knee or kick him. But the rest was cool, I’m a clean fighter, I fight under the rules, and I try not to break the rules, ’cause the rules are there to be respected. I’m a professional athlete. I adapt myself to every type of rules, it doesn’t matter the type.
FCF: After your initial victories in Pride, your fights earned more attention from everybody, facing very famous names such as Guy Mezger and Gilbert Yvel. Do you consider your knockout over Guy Mezger as one of the most notable moments of your career?
VS: Yeah, it was really a very nice knockout! I liked because it was on a trading, the guy really surprised me because he was a real man. He had the guts to trade with me. ‘Cause my master told me, "Well, he will try to take you to the ground"…Because I train wrestling too, now it’s much more difficult to take me down. But he is really an athlete, I take my hat off to him, he’s a guy that I respect a lot. He really deserves a lot of credit; he got two knockouts after he fought me. And he had the guts to trade with me, he had the guts to accept the trading, and the result was that he could knock me out as well as be knocked out. The same way that I knocked him out, if he connected a good punch on me, he would have knocked me out too. So I think that this is what the public wants to see, if more athletes accepted this type of game-not only against me, but between them-if more guys accepted to do what he did with me, I think everybody would benefit from that, all the NHB fighters would benefit from that, I guess that NHB could easily reach the purses of boxing this way.
FCF: Recently Mezger gave some interviews saying that he would like to face you again, now more prepared to your style of fighting and prepared for a war. Some people say that you headbutted him in the fight, which hindered him. What do you think about those statements, and do you intend to face him again in the future?
VS: For sure! I’ll fight him anytime that he wants, there’s no problem. I’ll fight with Sakuraba and with whoever they want me to fight again, I’ll fight. I’ll fight him, I’ll fight with Tito, against Vitor, I’ll fight anyone, there’s no problem. I accept to fight without a problem, and if he thinks that it’ll be a war, it’ll really be a war! Every fight for me is a war; I get in there to kill! That’s the way with me! If the guy makes a mistake, I kick his face; I kick his mouth! And as he made some mistakes the last time and I knocked him out, the next time if he does that again, I’ll knock him out again. Hey Guy Mezger, if you make any mistakes I’ll knock you out again! Did you get it? Did I headbutt him? I did because I’m a brawler, ’cause I’m a fighter and I was brawling. Now the guy comes to say that the headbutt hindered him! It did? I don’t know, I only know that I’m a brawler! It wasn’t on purpose, it’s instinct! In the same way that if I hit him with a solid punch now and he falls in front of me, I’ll stick my foot in his mouth on the ground! I don’t care! If he was hurt that time, the next time he will come out a lot worst!
FCF: Against Gilbert Yvel, there’s a big controversy about a new fight between you two. How do you rate Yvel as a Muay Thai fighter, and does Pride still have interest in promoting this fight in the future?
VS: It’s his problem! It’s like I said; I’ll fight anyone. Back then he was 105kg and I was only 89kg. And even then I was going right at him, I was very confident, I was looking to trade with him. But now I think that it is he who has to climb his way to the top. Thank God, I’m on top now, and I think it’ll be difficult for him to fight me; he will have to fight a lot.
FCF: At Pride 12, you put on the best fight of the event, facing the (then) undefeated fighter, Dan Henderson. You showed an impressive will to win during the whole fight, fighting through most of the fight with an eye almost closed! How was your vision during the fight, due to the cut above your eye?
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VS: To tell you the truth I wasn’t seeing anything with that eye! I was with my eye completely closed. When the first round was over my eye was completely closed, but I was willing to fight, I was willing to fight him. Because he wouldn’t stop! I hit the guy with a big punch, I got a knockdown on him and he wouldn’t stop. Gee, I took a yellow card, and it was getting really hard for me there…at the times that he shot on my legs, I couldn’t see properly and I would just throw some punches. Thankfully the punches were hitting him, I got some knockdowns on him, and he really surprised me. He has the skin of a lizard, he doesn’t bleed, and he stays clean! I threw everything with lots of power, with all I got and the guy…he really deserved to be undefeated till then! So much that he came back and knocked out Renzo, he’s a tough guy. There’s a guy that I don’t know if I want to fight again, he is really a tough guy. Now I want to see if I can put in my contracts that the referee can’t stop the fights because of bleeding, cuts and stuff. I don’t know if I’ll be able to, but for me it’s cool, let it continue, let it continue cause I can take the punishment!