Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Dan Henderson Special Interview

Dan "America's Best" Henderson challenges Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva, the current PRIDE Middleweight Champion on PRIDE. 33 "THE SECOND COMING." This is the interview with Dan, to whom all Americans are expecting to win the middleweight championship.

Pride Fighting Championships: Can you tell us your impression of Wanderlei?
Henderson: He is a tough fighter, he does not give up.

Pride: Have you been thinking that you want to fight him again?
Henderson: Absolutely , well not that long. I just want his belt.

Pride: In addition to the match being 5 minutes 5 rounds, foot stomps and soccer ball kicks are not allowed under Nevada rules. Do you think these rules work to your advantage?

Henderson: It doesn't really matter too much to me. Even if it was under the U.S rule, I am still going to beat him.

Pride: Is it going to be a different fighting style than under normal PRIDE rules?
Henderson: Umm no because the stand up is the same, and I don't do very many stomps anyway. I'm not going to let him get on top anyway, so the stomps won't matter.

Pride: Would it be easier for you to lose weight for the welter class, or not lose weight to fight in the middle weight division?
Henderson: Well, it is always easier not to have to lose weight. I think it makes it more fun and more of a challenge like the "big guys." I think I'm just going to beat him up at that weight class. It's just fun. I'm excited about this fight.

Pride: You are fighting in your home country and Wanderlei is fighting away. Do you think that's going to affect the fight?
Henderson: Umm. Again, it's another thing that would help me. He is used to fighting away in Japan; you know I guess it's been a long time probably since he's fought at home. I don't think it will affect him that much. It will give me a little advantage; it's nice to fight in front of my friends and family. I will have a little bit more of an extra drive I guess.

Pride: Who gave you the middle name "Hollywood" and what does it mean?
Henderson: I don't know where that came from. There was football player that played for the Dallas Cowboys a long time ago named "Hollywood Henderson," but it's got nothing to do with that.

Pride: If you win the middle weight title, would you still want to keep the welter weight title?
Henderson: Yeah, I would like to defend that title at least for 2007. And then we will see. I guess I will have to pick which weight class to stay at.

Pride: I heard Team Quest built a gym last year. How did that change your training environment?
Henderson: It helped me out quite a bit. It allowed me to have a stable training environment, where I'm not traveling as much and I have a few more partners and trainers coming now. So it's helped a lot.

Pride: On your website, you have pictures of yourself training with well-known fighters, such as Rani Yahya, Jason Miller and Mark Hominick etc. Who are you training with?
Henderson: I train with all of these guys. They all come down to get their training at my gym. I also have some of my guys that have been with me for 4 or 5 years. Art Santore and Brian Foster are two of my older training partners that are great. Also Sokoudjou Thierry, who is fighting Nogueira, is one of my main training partners. He has been with me for 2 or 3 years now.

Pride: Please tell us about Thierry Sokoudjou.
Henderson: He is tough. He is an animal. He is absolutely an animal. I'm excited to watch him fight against Nogueira. He is inexperienced in that he has not had that many fights. He is at one of the best training environments in the world so. He has been with us a couple of years. He just improves every day and he is the hardest working guy in the world.

Pride: I heard you trained with Ryo Chonan. What did you learn from him?
Henderson: It was just more about helping each other out, training, and having a good partner. He's got a lot of good techniques. Chonan is really good at ankle locks and stuff like that. It's definitely an advantage you know. I always enjoy training with him. He won his fight last night, so that was good for him.

Pride: Is it true that Vinicius Magalhaes is instructor at your gym?
Henderson: Yes.

Pride: How do you know him?
Henderson: He came down to help me train last year. He likes to train so much that he moved down full-time and he is an instructor at our gym now.

Pride: Do you think that training with Magalhaes has improved your ground skills?
Henderson: Absolutely. It can't hurt, that's for sure, to have a jui jitsu world champion there training with you every day. So he is definitely an advantage to train with every day. I am learning a lot. You know, he submits me almost every day.

Pride: Did you learn new techniques?
Henderson: Yea. I've learned a lot of ground stuff. I can't even begin. A lot of it is positioning and control on top, and he gets a lot of leg locks, arm bars. He is well-rounded on the ground. He doesn't just do a couple of things. He attacks your legs, arms, and chokes. He is probably the best guy I've rolled with on the ground.

Pride: This will be your second time in Las Vegas fighting for PRIDE. How do you think it's going to be?
Henderson: I hope great. I think it will be great. I know that I have a lot of friends and family coming. They are excited about it.

Pride: How was the last PRIDE event in Las Vegas?
Henderson: The last one was good. You know, I'm even more excited about it because it was fun last time. And this fight is a huge fight for me. It means a lot. I am looking forward to celebrating with a new belt afterward.

Pride: You have both PRIDE and UFC fight experience. Can you tell us the pros & cons to each of these event?
Henderson: Well, it was so long ago when I fought in the UFC. And it was different owners, so it is hard to compare. The advantage of fighting in PRIDE is that PRIDE has the reputation of having the best fighters in the world. So to fight there means that I have the same reputation as well, as being one of the top fighters. I try to say who the top guy is in the world because the two organizations don't fight each other, but I think that the only advantage in the U.S is that UFC is known here. Obviously PRIDE is much better known in Japan. I am looking forward to the PRIDE's marketing in the U.S this year and it being more popular in the U.S.

Pride: The rivalry between PRIDE & UFC is the center of much attention in Japan. Do you think that PRIDE has a chance against UFC?
Henderson: I think they do have a chance against the UFC. As far as business, it just comes down to marketing and I think that PRIDE really needs to focus their marketing in the U.S. like they are starting to do. UFC has done really well with that here. It's just a different market, different way of marketing here than in Japan. Probably PRIDE has a little catching up to do in the U.S.

Pride: Message to Japanese fans who are watching you from PPV:
Henderson: I hope they watch it live, instead of PPV and make the trip to Las Vegas. If they can't make it, I will be fighting in Japan soon. I'm looking forward to it. I always like fighting in front of Japanese fans.

Pride: Message to American fans:
Henderson: I am excited to be in my home country with all of my friends and family. I'm looking forward to giving them an exciting fight.

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