Monday, March 12, 2007

Q&A: “Shaolin” Discusses K-1 HERO’S Debut

By Gleidson Venga Shaolin, you've been waiting for an invitation like this from HERO'S for a long time. What are your expectations about your debut there?
Vitor Ribeiro (Pictures): My expectation is the best possible. For a long time I wanted to fight in this organization. I was invited once, but I hurt myself and I couldn't fight. I couldn't fight for a year in any other organization, but now I'm very happy. I'm training more than never. I started this year training in gi, and I adapted my game to the no gi. I'm training boxing. I'm very happy training with the guys who will fight in Shooto, UFC … we are really focused, avoiding parties. And if it's God's wish, everything will be OK there. Do you know your opponent (Ryuki Ueyama)?
Ribeiro: Yes, I do. I saw his fights, on Youtube. I saw him against Rani (Yahia) [and] against Sean Sherk (Pictures). He is a tough guy. Left-handed. Taller than me. He likes to try leglocks, to try those Sakuraba Kimuras. He is a fighter against whom you can't make mistakes, so I'm training to fight well. The hardest part of it is to cut weight, but if I reach the weight limit, everything will be OK. A new year is beginning for you. Everybody make plans. What are yours?
Ribeiro: My plan is to improve my striking skills; my wrestling skills. I will work on my approach: to clinch and takedown and taking my opponent down. I will use my BJJ because I'm more comfortable on the ground. But along with these plans, I'm taking care of my newborn son. I'm enjoying been a father, watching his growth process. But I'm really working on my weaknesses, to improve my game. So 2007 will be a good year?
Ribeiro: Excellent. After you become a father and if you are healthy, nothing else matters. I can take a punch or a kick on my face and still move on. And being healthy I can train well to fight well as consequence. So I train the best I can, with Pimentel, Dede (Pederneiras), Pedro (Rizzo), Vitor Miranda. They are increasing my game for me to be well in the K-1 ring. And what do you think about other opponents in your weight class?
Ribeiro: Man, there are a lot of good fighters, like Gesias (Calvancanti), who's the new champion. There's Caol Uno (Pictures), Hideo Tokoro (Pictures), toughest guys, they all have two arms and two legs. Gesias started the last year very well and ended better than this. My congratulations to him. We are in the same organization. Maybe we won't fight tomorrow, but we will fight. But I won't think about them now. I'm thinking only about my opponent, and after this, I'll face anyone that K-1 offers me. I will accept and train well to face the next guy. You are one of the guys with the best MMA records (almost 20 fights, only one loss). What is your secret?
Ribeiro: There's no secret. I frankly had some bad times in the ring. I had fights when I couldn't take the guy down or hit him with a punch or to accept being hit so hard. But when you're well trained by a good team you can take it all and keep moving on. Now I'm here to practice what I learned. I think it is, if you have a good team and a good head, you know that the guy in front of you is human just like you. How is your contract with K-1 structured? How many fights you have to do?
Ribeiro: I signed a three fight-contract with K-1, but I can enlarge this contract. And I want it, to become a K-1 employee, because this organization fits to me, so honestly I'm not thinking about other organizations but K-1. And in God's wish I'll stay there. How do you evaluate your Cage Rage participations?
Ribeiro: Very good, very good. I didn't leave Cage Rage; I'm still champion there, but I will stay in K-1 for the next three fights. I hope to defend my title in Cage Rage, but I don't know when. They treated me very well there — Dave and Andy a hug for them both, and for Alex, my manager in England. I think England has a good MMA business; they are improving a lot. Their organization is growing every event, with better undercards. Good luck for them. The training sessions here in Nova União are flying high?
Ribeiro: Yes, we have to train more and more. Everybody is looking for moment in the sun. Fighting on the biggest or smaller events, we are working on, working and growing together looking for spotlight. Thales Leites (Pictures) will fight in an upcoming UFC. Tell us about him.
Ribeiro: Thales had a debut good and bad one at same time. He fought well, but lost the fight. So he won't make the same mistakes again; he will be better for his next fight. I wish him luck, he is determined, has the heart of a warrior and I hope he becomes champion in the UFC. What do you want to say to everyone who will cheer for you in your new organization?
Ribeiro: I want to thank to everybody who enjoy my game, who likes me as a person, who enjoy my fights since WFA, Shooto. Thank you very much for the support. Keep supporting me. I am moving to a bigger organization and I hope to train hard, to fight well, to enjoy my opportunity. Watch us, me and my teammates. We have a lot of things to show you. Thanks.

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