Feeling after the match?
That sucked. As far as the fight, I wanted it to go a different way. But, sometimes it doesn't. You have to roll with the punches. That’s it.
Did your impression change after fighting him?
No. I knew he was tough on the ground, he finished me on the ground. My impression was correct. Big strong young kid. I think that anybody that I fight, it can always be a different fight on a different night. That’s just my thoughts.
The match just finished, any plans for the future?
Obviously I’m not hurt. Just emotionally hurt. I did take a nice little nap out there. I’ll keep fighting as long as RIZIN wants me. Do you guys wanna see me fight again?
So when he took you back, you were standing and defending for a while. He kicked the fence to bring you down. What do you feel about that?
In unified rules, you're not allowed to put your hands or toes in the cage. I told the ref that his feet were climbing on the cage which is how he got higher on my back. Which is supposed to be illegal. But I’m fighting so I had to do something. I tried trapping his hands and smashing his head on the mat. It didn’t work. He tucked and rolled and went for the ride.
Is there anything you might want to improve on your ground game?
I constantly train grappling. I just do way better on my feet. That’s all. I always train just as much striking, I do just as much grappling.
Is there anything you want to say about his weight?
Fat boy. I’ve been in bad camps where my weight just didn’t want to come off. But, at the end of the day, there’s a weight you're supposed to make. I came all the way out here, I was going to take the fight no matter what. Sometimes it's a slight advantage to them. But I’m a warrior. Put me in front of someone else and I’ll fight.
Can you give us an idea what the emotion was like for you?
I have no words to describe this feeling. It’s the happiest day of my life for sure. Not just because i'm fighting in japan. I came through a lot of adversity for this fight. My team and I were very nervous. In the end we got the win, it was a clean fight. I’ve been through a lot of bad situations, but we won the fight, that's the most important thing. I got really sick 3 weeks ago and haven’t trained since then. I couldn’t
manage my diet and it was pretty tough. It’s not an excuse for missing weight. But God is my witness, my family and my partners saw what happened. I was very disappointed because i didn't make weight. I know what I’ve been through. It wasn't so bad because I knew if it was any other fighter in my skin, they wouldn't do half of what I did. That was good, like i said the most important thing was to win the fight and that's what I did.
Would you have pulled out if it wasn't here?
I had no responsibility to take this fight, because if it was under other circumstances, I would cancel the fight. I told all my team, don't talk about my health issues to anybody. I wanna fight. No matter what I'm gonna get this win. Now I’m gonna take care of my health situation and I’ll get better. this was a test of life for me. I believe it was a test of life and i think all these things make me stronger.
A big win a big moment. What does 2020 hold for you? Title shots and rankings?
I don’t like to ask for a title shot. I like to earn my chance to the title. For sure I want to fight for the title. It's not a secret. But I have to earn it. Scott will give me the chance. The most important thing is to earn the opportunity. I will do that in 2020. I will ask for big fights. I want to fight ben henderson, i want to make a lot of big fights in 2020.
How was it fighting in front of that crowd?
That was the best experience of my life. Fighting in Japan is totally different. The sound and energy of the crowd is totally different. This is something that I knew from TV, now I experienced it live. It was very good and very emotional part of my life.
When you were in the fight, were there any moments you took yourself out of the fight and realized where you were?
Yeah, I couldn't believe it. I’m living my dream. I have no words to describe this moment. I’m very happy. Your idea to walk out to Sakuraba's music?
I used to watch Sakuraba's fights, Masato, they are my Japanese heroes. This is just a dream. One day I thought I want to fight in Saitama and go with this song. That's what I did. I felt the good energy. I hope people in Japan enjoyed this moment because this is what I want to do. bring a lot of entertainment to this country. My heart is still in Japan. I’m Japanese. In Brazil they treat me like I’m Japanese. I’m half Japanese but I represent everyone around the world that likes my job. MY face says im Japanese, so im happy to represent this flag.
Do you have plans to fight again for RIZIN?
It's up to Scott Coker. He will know what is best for me. This was an amazing experience. I want to be back here in Japan. It's been an amazing experience. This was tough, but the next one will be a little better and I’ll be able to enjoy a little more. I’m happy and satisfied, and I want to be back for sure.
How do you feel right now after the match?
I have no words. it's the best day of my life. I’m living my dream, living my childhood dream. I always wanted to fight here in Japan. I just feel good things now.
Did your impression change of Daron?
Daron is a very experienced fighter. He fought the best guys in the world. I have a lot of respect for Daron, he's a tough guy, I respect him as a fighter. He did a good job. I know that he did a good preparation for this fight, but what I had to bring to the cage is totally different. I’ll always be one step ahead of my opponents. That's what I feel now. That's not being cocky, it's just my confidence. I know everything that I do in my training camp. Not just in training camp, but everything that I do to be here. I know that I work really hard. so talk about daron, he's a very good fighter, but i was better today. I wish him all the best.
The match just ended, but what are your plans for the future?
My goal for 2020 is to get my title shot. I have to earn it. My plans for my career, just bring entertainment for the crowd around the world, not just in Japan, Brazil and America. I want to make history in this game. I wanna be the champion. Not just the champion, a different kind of champion. I think I have all the tools to be this guy. I will work really hard for it.
Your entrance theme was Sakuraba's theme. Any reason?
Sakuraba is a hero for me. I think he represents a lot of things in my career. Sakuraba is the biggest howman of all time. He's a grappler just like me. When I was young it was all about the gracie family. when Sakuraba started fighting the gracie family, i used to hate sakuraba. He was defeating the Gracies.
The Gracies are still my heroes. Today I see different things. He’s Japanese just like me. He got a lot of influence in my career. Even today, I still watch a lot of fights of Sakuraba. It's one of my biggest heroes. I was very happy when I knew that sakuraba was introduced for the hall of fame for UFC. He deserves it. He's one of the biggest fighters of all time.
Could you tell us about being overweight?
It was a health issues. I will explain better in the next week on social media. Like i said it was health issues. I couldn't train for more than a couple weeks. I was really sick even here in japan. I just started to feel better inside the age. When I stepped into the cage, i'm good. It was more mental than physical. I finished the fight quick. This is not an excuse. I feel embarrassed because I’m not like that. If it was any other fighter, they wouldn't do half of what I did. I went to my limit and I can guarantee to everyone, it's not gonna happen again.
Any Japanese fighters you'd like to fight in the future. When you kicked the cage and brought him down, talk about that sequence.
There's no particular Japanese fighter i want to fight. Everything here is new for me. I was in the American circuit, the American business. I need to know about japanese fighters, so today was all about entertainment. Daron is not a Bellator fighter. Like I said, for an entertainment fight, it was really important. Well, I cannot explain that sequence. It was just naturally from my game. I’ve done it since I was a kid. It's just practice, no secret. I don't even remember what I did. I was in the flow of my game. That was something that I train every single day. I finished the back, but all the movements are automatic.
You've used that kicking the cage in a match?
Yeah I used that move alot. Going to the back, this is what i consider myself one of the best in the game. It was something natural for me. Just another day. When I go to the ground, when I grapple with someone else, it's just another day. Its something very usual for me.
Change of impression?
There wasn't much difference between my feelings before and after the match. I think the match went as planned
Plans for the future?
I need to practice much more and bellator fans saw me. I’d like to have a chance to fight in North America.
You slowly brought up your voltage from the first round. In the first round she came out pretty fast. And gradually she died out. Was that your plan?
Yes i practiced that . Her striking was a little stronger than i thought. She was superior there but i was able to show in the cage what I practiced for. So I’m satisfied.
You're being careful of her right hand. but you took much more right hands than expected.
Yes but it wasn't as hard as it looked. I need to practice more on that.
How was it when you grabbed her?
When i caught her it felt really secure. I thought I would be able to take her down.
At the end, you looked a little dissatisfied. How is your actual feeling?
It was just that I was relieved. That's my honest feeling. I also felt that I was carrying so many people on my shoulders. My thought was that I could not lose. I was relieved that I had won.
What does 2020 have for you?
I would like to try to fight around the world. Olympics will be in Tokyo but I would like to have my own Olympic year.
You were able to take her down then she reverse.
I’m not practicing any judo type throws. I'm doing something that was natural.
what about her triangle?
I wasn't worried, it wasn't in deep. I was waiting for the timing to slip out and go on the offense.
You mentioned before that you want RIZIN to establish a flyweight belt. Does it mean that you don't really care about the belt and want to go overseas?
If RIZIN is going to set a flyweight title, I would love to challenge that and go outside of Japan at the same time.
Impressive performance. How do you feel?
I feel good. He is tough. I know I always fight tough guys. But everything I got, giving it to him and he was not going away. If you know who he is and who he fights. This is the exact same thing that happens. They get overcommitted and chase the knockout. He always comes back and bigs the guys because they gas out. It was nice i gotta come back and look at it. I was calm and collected. I was able to hear my corner and t was going good.
Did you feel the fight should be stopped?
The time he feel after a punch or when he had my leg and I was elbowing him. One elbow made him limp. Then I hit him again and he grabbed leg tight. I just woke him up. I felt like yeah, but he came back. If he was just laying there, it was a different story. He's just tough.
Tell us about the weight.
The thing is, I did the same weight cut I always do. I might have come over a little too heavy. It's funny because I look at the little comments online, and I’ve had 30+ fights not including my amatuer fights. I’ve never missed weight. This time it is what it is, it happens. The first hour I was in the tub, I dropped 3.4 lbs. The next hour it went from 3.4 lbs to 0.4 lbs. That’s it, I’m not stupid when it comes to all this. I listen to my body. If I drop hardly any weight, I’m done. I’m not known for this, it's not my MO, people can say what they want, just look at my record.
Can you be still #1 after missing weight?
This is just a little bump. I’ve had problems with, but this is the first time. It just happened. I’m not gonna blame it on anything. this is the learning curve. everything is in my coaches notse. WE know now. it is what it is. I don't give a fuck what you haters say.
If for some reason a title shot isn't next, what about MVP?
You know what. nobody knows, but we’re related, we're not gonna fight. we came to the conclusion that we won't tell anybody. I’m just fucking with you guys. We’re real cool. I got so many guys i'll look forward to fighting. Hes cool as shit. a straight up guy. that's not even in my mind. We’ll see in the future. right now, just enjoying our wins. we’re having fun. We got to represent bellator. I don't know about your basic fan. But people that really follow mma, this is a really monumental moment in MMA history. People don't understand what everyone is arguing about, this is what makes it grow. This is what boxing does to bring in the money. You have Golden Boy and TMT put on a fight. This is what that was. Its crazy. This can blow up. I’m just glad to be a part of it. And I’m a company man. I’m down to fight in Japan again.
If lima wants to fight for the middleweight title will you wait?
He’s the man. If that's what he wants to do, then that's what he wants to do. I”m a true believer that you earn your shot. Not shit talking to get you there. He’s earned it, he's fought his ass off and he's a true champion. If that's what he wants to do, then cool. I'll wait. I'm a fighter, I’ll fight somebody else, and when the time is right, we’ll fight. All power to hikm. we’ll go from there.
Any names in particular?
They always give me a name. Leonardo, I’m not fighting his ass until he fights Koreshkov. By that I mean Paul Daley. Ninja turtle looking ass. The turtle out there, can’t fight me up till you fight Koreshkov.
Tell us your feeling right now?
I feel like this is a big milestone in my career. I got to fight somewhere I grew up watching fighters here. Just to walk down the halls and be in the dressing rooms and experience the atmosphere. I was trying to soak it all in. It's a once in a lifetime experience.
Did you impression of your opponent change after the fight?
I knew he was tough. I didn't think he would be that durable. I hit him with some really hard shots. He took it and kept coming. I knew it was gonna be a tough battle. I’m fighting him in his home country. he wants to win and put on a good show. I came here, I had all the determination to take the W tonight. Plans for the future?
My plans are to talk to Scott again and find out when we’re coming back to japan. because I love it here. What is the difference between the US atmosphere and the Japanese ones?
It just boils down to the nostalgia of what being in Saitama brings. Especially if you followed the sport and watched the great fights that happened here. The fans are so appreciative. They're so in tune with the sport. It's really been a great week for me. I don't know what else to say other than I enjoyed myself. I’ve had only one sour taste in my mouth about this experience.
Any opponents in your mind?
Not at this moment. I know for a fact that I will be studying the RIZIN roster and see what welterweights they do have. I haven’t really paid attention to the roster too much. Now for sure they are on my radar. My team and I will be paying attention to what welterweights they do have.
Would you consider fighting for a middleweight belt in RIZIN?
If bellator comes to me and puts together a fight that really makes sense,then im all for it. I’m a game fighter and always open to really exciting fights. If Bellator came to me and talked to me about a fight that's good for the fans, I’ll be all with it.
you missed the weight. what was the reason?
We’ve done the same weight cut as every single other time. The first hour in the tub i dropped 3.4 pounds. The next hour I dropped 0.4. That told me my body is telling me to stop. If 1 hour goes by and I drop 3+ pounds and the next hour I drop 0.4 pounds, I’m gonna listen to my body and stop. There's no purpose to keep pushing my body if its not allowing me to. I’ve made weight in 30+ professional fights. I’ve never had a problem making weight before. It sucks that it was for this event. I apologize for that but I won't happen again.
Through your skillset today. What was the main thing that got you the win?
Just my team. I’ve been with my team for a long time. Even though I’m the fighter, they walk me through the fight 100% of the way. If I’m missing something they're gonna correct me and tell me what i should be doing. It helps a lot when im fighting a very tough opponent. It was a whole team effort. It was me being in there seeing what i can. Anything i'm not seeing my team is there and instruct me on what to see. It was a team effort. Before anything I walk in the arena. The second I walked in the arena I was awake. The lights, the cage, it was unbelievable. It felt at home. It was great.
Your vibe this week has been different.
I’ve just been a tourist. I keep forgetting I was here to fight. I’ve been going around, shopping way too much. Really embracing the culture. Thats what kind of offset me abit.
What was the moment that you knew you would win?
He was fighting awkward but applying pressure. It took me a little longer to figure out what I wanted to do. I started opening up more in the 2md round, it was game over. I hit him with a shot and he went down. But he's tough. I thought my hand wasn’t working after the first knockdown.
Were you confident the 2nd knockdown ended it?
You can tell by the way somebody's body switches off.
You didn't showboat tonight?
100%, I’m very aware of my surroundings. You gotta read the crowd, just the moment. For me coming over here brought back old school memories of my youth and having to bow for everything. I remember bowing to cross the street because it was such a habitual thing. It was nice to switch off. My entrance was a Naruto thing to stand out. Everything else was a cherry on top.
Lorenz came in and said he didn't want to fight you because he likes you.How do you see things shaken out?
I find Lima’s response weird. He wanted to fight me before, had a few fights and he's not interested, there's talks of him going up. He's trying to distance himself as much as possible. I’m just going to keep fighting until he cant get away from me. I’m only going to be reminded of him over and over.
People think this wasn't a quality opponent. Does that annoy you?
Where I’m at now, Ii find it a bit of a compliment. The people who truly understand MMA, they know these opponents and still call them a can. That just means I’m making them look like that. I’m on the right track in terms of the fashion that I’m winning. Everyone keeps going about crushing cans and anybody can get it.
Michael "Venom" Page
Where do you buy the Naruto stuff?
I’m a massive fan of Anime. I’ve had this about 3 years ago at ComiCon, maybe 4 years ago in London. I bought it and we were talking about JApan the celebration. I thought I got something here. I had a few other bits and pieces I got over here.
Would you accept a fight in a ring for RIZIN rules?
Is there space tomorrow? Put me in because I’m feeling fresh.
How do you feel right now?
I feel great. I’ve had the most amazing time, that was just the cherry on the top. the second i got to this arena it made one of the things on my bucket list for a very long time has become a reality for me. It's just amazing.
Was there any difference before and after your impression?
No, I think I spoke to a few people and i hdant really done too much research. I leave that to my coaches. They pay so much attention to the details of who im fighting. I just make sure I'm on my A game, and the results speak for itself.
Plans for the future?
I’ve had a very busy year. I do wanna try and continue into next year and just keep active. I’ve loved this year and how active I've been. In 2020, I want that belt.
Your costume was naruto? tell us the reason
Naruto for me is a series that ive been watching since I was young, it's been around for ages, one of the best anime. I know everyone is big on anime over here. I wanna pay tribute and let people know I'm a big follower of these things.
Specific reason you don't have a guard? Is it easier to throw?
My guard is my movement. I don’t need a guard. I always tell people the same thing. do people with their guard up not get knocked out? I've had the most matches without being hit out of anybody in the world. My guard is my movement.
you mentioned you love to come back. Is there a fighter specifically you have in mind?
No I don't really. I’m very oblivious to these things. I just enjoy performing and having good crowds and amazing arenas. I just want to return, whoever it is.
What would you like to do the rest of you time in japan?
Drink as much sake as possible.
Did you attempt the kick you wanted?
It was a very specific kick that i kind of mistimed. It will happen one day. Stay tuned.
By watching anime, is there anything that gives you inspiration in using something to your moves or fights?
To be fair i draw inspiration from a lot of stuff. It's hard to draw from animation, certain things they do is not realistic. But, a lot of old martial arts films give me inspiration. More so action movies than animation.
you were not dwelling on the loss. Getting the win.
You just gotta hop back on that horse. I let that first string of losses really get to my head . I thought the whole world was ending. You get so much freedom from losing. It all depends how you bounce back. This is a game of inches. Stick to it all the way to the end. This was really cool. You don't really get to truly enjoy it as much as you should.
How do you feel?
You never quite know. My coaches had me with a great gameplan of getting to the body hard. There was a little bit of a size difference. That first takedown exchange and he grabbed my kick. He's the real deal. He's not gonna let you up very soon if he gets his hand on you. Get to the body, be fast in and out. We were making some debits to the body that paid off. You think it looks predictable or choreographed. This worked out perfectly and went to the head after going to the body. First round finish was great.
What comes next?
Obviously the 155 belt is tied up. I’m not gonna sit here and dwell on that. It's tied up because I let it get tied up. There's no finger i can point at anybody besides myself. we have a lot of time to hang out with my favorite people in the entire world. ill get back to nashville and be with my family who sacrifice so
much. I made a promise to my son that I would take care of him every single day. It's my job to be a dad for the next couple months and stay in shape. I'm blessed to keep doing things, making great friends, a great brotherhood. I’m just excited to see what's next. They always put on a big card in May/June. thoughts during the finale?
It’s crazy, it was fast. You punch him once and he eats it. One punch puts him down and you're like that was weird. He kinda went down and came back up so I could throw again. I used to run forward and just go. I wasn't thinking a lot back then. I’m thinking a lot more now. Thousands of hours of sparring and cage time. Whenever you expect your opponent to go down that plants seeds of doubt in your head. This is a game of inches. I’d be silly not to say the same thing happened 6 months ago. #1, hats off to Sidney Outlaw, without him it's not possible. He stepped up made weight on 4 weeks notice. he's a big guy. I commend him for coming in being a professional taking this fight. I hope he got compensated well by bellator. He bloodied my lip and we felt each other out. He came to fight and he's a good fighter.
Did you believe the Benson Henderson fight will happen soon?
We’ll see. I always said Benson and I are rivals and we’ll step in the cage again. I know he fought me last time with a torn ACL. He's not a wimp, he's not gonna pull out of fights without serious injuries. Benson's a big name and a great test so I'd love to fight him.
Are you waiting to fight pitbull again?
I’m not waiting for patricio at all. I lost to him, 2-1 against the Pitbull brothers now. I got nobody to point the finger at besides myself. If he ever figures out what he's doing with the grand prix, we’ll see what happens. Not that the belt doesn't matter, the paychecks are the same whether I go in and the title is on the line or not. im in this for the experience, to become a better fighter everyday. we’ll see what happens. What was the experience hearing everything in the cage?
It is crazy. people always talked about it obviously. I cornered my teammate at ONE. I saw and heard the mystique inside the arena here. I had an experience as a fan. but tonight hearing the canvas hearing the cracks hearing him breath, hear everyone. Its crazy, it's cool. I don't mean to rub it in. But this was really cool. The walkout was cool. the theatrics, the fans were amazing. You get treated like a real superstar. I’d like to fight here every single fight for the rest of my life.
Does the fight vs the RIZIN GP winner interest you?
Hats off to Scott and Sakakibara. It's cool to be fighting for bellator for 9 years. working with RIZIN people, it's a true co promotion, working together for the betterment of the fighters and fights itself. This is cool. I’d love to fight the GP winner. I can make weight in 2 days. Let me know.
How do you feel?
Huge mixture of emotions. We trained so hard for this one fight. then the fight ends, and luckily for me I won. I’m coming off the high of the crazy emotions, but also walking out of the cage at the arena, shaking hands, taking pictures, enjoying being around the Japanese crowd was amazing this whole week. I’m still unpacking all the motions from this week. getting a dominant finish for the Japanese crowd was awesome. Enjoying japan for the next 2 days will be awesome.
Not really. He was what I expected. I don't say that because I won. He was a big guy, threw heavy punches. wanted to grapple, was very strong. He's very similar to what I expected. I never expected to knock him out in the 1st round. when you expect something to happen, you start chasing things. usually it doesn't come. I tried to stay calm, listen to my coaches there. They were trying to slow the fight down, keep pressure on him but not be too hectic in there.
Plans for future?
I’m extremely happy. This is a dream come true to fight in the Saitama Super Arena, where so many legends have fought. I’ve watched this sport during the PRIDE days. I’m really only thinking about enjoying Japan all day with my family and my team. Celebrate, enjoy life and get back to the drawing board. I’m just excited about the next day here in Japan.
I have actually had 6 or 8 opponents or pull out fights in the past. I’m used to it. We were originally raining for benson henderson who was a southpaw. I was focused on that. we had to switch it up. this is why you never train for a certain opponent. Focus on myself and what I can do and how I can get better.
The fight will take care of itself. luckily we had 4 hard weeks specifically for Sidney Outlaw. I got great people around me. We saw it happen tonight, a great gameplan.
Your finish, do you remember how it went?
We worked a lot on the right hand to the body. If you throw the right hand to the body, the head will follow. We hit him with really hard straight shots. The level change allowed me to drop him. When he went to his knees I threw one more right behind the ear. Thats the shot I got hit with in my last fight. That's part of the fight game. That's how we did it.
Was this a special feeling for you?
I’m very glad that I was able to win in Japan. I’m happy I was able to deliver that special gift to the fans who support me. Saitama arena is a very special place for me. it's one of the biggest arenas i fought in. How did you feel the fight played out?
I feel that originally, half of the fight would be on the ground. when I got in the cage, I felt I was faster than rampage. it made no sense to go to the ground. rampage has tremendous experience. one mistake ends everything. I had to be very careful. That's why I was looking for the aim. Especially at the beginning he did a great job of covering up.
Did you feel comfortable with the stoppage?
I felt I would just get on top and land punches. Right after my punch, he collapsed face down.
There was some confusion post fight. Is he retired?
I want to fight in Japan, USA and Russia. That was my last fight in Japan. For this, this my plan. we’ll see how i feel and recover.
I want to spend time with my family, then discuss with bellator the appropriate time to fight. I don’t know exactly how long it will take.
Rampage is hard to KO. Were you surprised to KO him early?
I know rampage usually doesn't get KO’d easily. I had a thought in my head, I was concerned he had a durable chin. But as soon as we met in the cage, I understood there was an opportunity to finish him. Any opponents in particular you want to fight?
A strategy was not to get into a brawl. We could knock each other out. The idea was to take Rampage down, fight on the ground, and catch him in a submission or choke. In the fight, I felt I had control and opportunity for a knockout. so the strategy changed. I’m slightly injured. I felt a sharp pain after throwing one of my kicks.
Tell us about Fedor team?
There's a team of young fighters fighting in Bellator. It’s something I’m going to continue coaching them and manage them. Having a cooperation with MMA of Russia. The sport they are developing in Russia. They’re making it big there.
Will the emotions be stronger in Russia?
Today I’m beyond myself. I’m happy that I won. It's a present for myself and dedicated the win to my daughter.
Chance to call family?
I just showered. I’m still doing things.
I think i was able to show and give the fans a new years present.
Your last fight in Japan has finished. Do you have any special memories of all of your fights in SSA?
When I started my career, I think you were one of the first journalists that questioned me at a press conference. When I first started fighting in Japan, it was probably in my memory the most. But it's just that, I am able to start my career here and it was very memorable. They're both comparable.
You had been fighting in big events in Japan in 2002, you fought a pro wrestler Yuji Nagata and all different matches. which match in japan stands out most in your mind?
The most memorable match here in Japan I had was with Antonio Nogueira. I fought with Japanese fighters, all different fighters and they were all great fighters.
What do you look forward to in young fighters and athletes in mma to grow and be more popular?
For MMA to become a mainstream sport, be conscious but also look for victories. try to do your best and try to win your matches so you just need to keep on trying hard.
Does this feel like a historic moment in the sport?
Eventually if there could be a world cup concept, that would be fantastic. getting through the politics and personalities would be very tough. Why not? Let’s come to Japan, let’s work with RIZIN, matchups between the two leagues. It was all in good respect, common goals, grow martial arts. There was a lull here in Japan. This can make a new wave in Japan. We had a great audience. To have 16,000 or so people on noon on Sunday it great. It is historic. Whatever we can do to help that wave continue. It's important to maintain and grow. This is where it all started. Before ‘93 there was already mixed martial arts here. This is where the foundation of martial arts is and it's an important territory. If we can keep it healthy, we’d love to do it.
Fedor wants to fight in the US, then Russia. any timeline?
It's really about what fedor wants. I want him to feel respected by the sport. It's our job to make sure that as long as he wants to continue we’re going to do it. if he wanted to retire about it, id be all about it. I really felt like the king has returned, it should be a big celebration, it should be an honor for Fedor which he won't want, he's so humble. he's the goat. he proved it tonight. I think this is the best ive seen him looking the last year and a half. He’s 3-1 in his last 4 fights in bellator. He’s doing well. It's really good to him.
Larkin and MVP aim for Lima. Lorenz missed weight. is he eligible?
We can look past that. he came along way. It's not an easy task. the flight, the trip, the different environment, different time frame, it has a lot to do with it. I think he's had 24 fights and never missed weight. We gotta give him a pass on that. The fight we'd like to see is Lorenz vs Lima because we haven see that yet.
Lorenz joked about not fighting MVP.
We’ll have a conversation. Don’t get too close to each other.
Do you think about title shot for Fedor?
It's up to him. hes 3-1. he looked fantastic. If it's something he wanted, we could work towards that. im not sure its all that important to him. I told him to rest, take care of his family and we’ll be in touch. Another Japan event next december?
I haven't talked to sakakibara yet. We’d like to continue, maybe next time 5v5 one night. if they want to keep doing it, we’ll keep doing it. Its very special and the fans get excited about it. Why not mix it up? Largest live attendance?
No, San Jose might've been larger. Sakakibara told me this is the biggest attendance for a non-japanese MMA company in the Saitama Super Arena or in Japan. UFC came here. ONE FC has been here. but this has the biggest paid attendance and gate. I think we did a great job, he did a great job. people are really excited about the matchups between the two companies. we’ll come back if he wants to do it again.
Who do you want to see Fedor fight next?
Josh Barnett keeps knocking on the door. Unfortunately he was sick for his last fight, he’d like to fight in January. But we’ll get Josh in there. If it's something Fedor would like to do, maybe that's a fight we can put together.
Thoughts on Michael Chandler?
Michael is a talent, tremendous power. He can punch like no one's business. He's a tough athlete. my hope was that pitbull wouldn't have gotten hurt but it didn't work out. I think maybe sometime in the summer between, we can fit one in. In the meantime, benson will be healed up soon. Yamauchi showed me good stuff today. There are guys that are up and coming so well see. But we’ll see what happens with the champ.
Spoken to rampage?
I‘m not sure. I don't think he went to the hospital. This was not the outcome he saw happening. Heavyweights, fighting Fedor, he looked great, it wasn't a good night for Quinton.
Future with Rampage and Bellator?
I don't even know if he wants to fight anymore.
We tired to get him in. It was a lot tougher to get him in. We’ll try again because we want them to fight in the USA.
Are visas a new problem?
I think you can probably figure that one out.
Any specific plans for next year in Japan? What about postlim matches next year?
This event was very special. I’ve been a fight promoter for 34 years. This is something I can definitely check off as a special moment in my career as a promoter. Our schedule for Bellator is busy. We have 30 fights a year all over the world. We’ll sit down with Sakakibara after the show and see how he feels about it. I’ll talk to my staff back in California. I think it was a lot of fun. Personally I would love to do it. There are many other people that help make that decision. Unfortunately we were scheduled to air these on Bellator’s YouTube page. Then I was told last night that they couldn't geo block it here. They had different problems with geo blocking. We have plenty of time to find a home for those next year. I believe they are airing this on fite.tv. Originally it was supposed to be on the YouTube page.
How do you feel the difference between RIZIN and Bellator?
I think fighters are fighting. Fighting is fighting. Martial arts are martial arts. My fighters that came here had a very good time. A lot of them grew up in the ‘golden era’. Between 1997-2007. Watching those shows. MVP was probably a teenager watching these fights. Same with chandler. It's something that they all reached out to me and said “I want to fight in Japan”. I don't have to ask any of them. It’s a very special place for combat sports. Its something I think my fighters will never forget. If you look at Michael Chandler, MVP, Lorenz, they have a lot of experience. I think that more experience, more events. We throw 30 fights a year, we can keep them busy. That's the biggest difference but in time, it all evens out. There are some tough fighters here. Nakamura, he is a tough martial artist. Watanabe was very talented. There's a lot of talent, I think the experience will even out more. when sakakibara calls and needs anything, we will help him out too. This isn't just coming to Japan and leaving. This is the beginning of a relationship. We want Japan to be healthy and have great fights and great fighters here. We will do our part to help out.
Tell us about what comes next for fedor.
As far as schedule, we’ll try to fight him in the late summer. then his last fight may be beginning of 2021. That's the time frame. We would like to take his next fight to Europe or Middle East, then finish the fight in Moscow. I think he should compete his last fight in moscow in his home country.
The buildup of Fedor and Rampage was a must see. After the match, how do you feel?
It's tough to comment on. I think fights unwind and unfold the way they're supposed to. you have to have a winner and a loser. Fedor looked great. He’s 3-1 in his last 4 fights. That's the best ive seen him look in his last 4 fights. That's a testament to his condition and diet. rampage got hit by some heavy shots. It took the sails out of him a bit. I think his strategy backfired on him a little bit. That's my overall assessment.
Kana Watanabe, the judo fighter. she wants to fight in Bellator.
We would love to have her in Bellator. She is a great fighter. She actually is someone I think can go a long way in the sport. We need to work around the needs of her schedule in Japan. If we have the opportunity for her to fight in Bellator, we’d love to do it.
Feeling after the fight?
I’m relieved. I wish I could’ve won. It was a good environment. I felt new years was close from the energy from the crowd.I’m disappointed with the result, but there's more to life. I will move on.
I said before that any opponent I have respect for. It doesn’t matter who the opponent is. By myself I can’t give what I had. I sort of hurt my achilles tendon, so I couldn’t go out with my full abilities. I would like to take this time to thank and appreciate all the fans, all the people related in MMA who made this possible. Especially the organization that organized this year end event, RIZIN. I truly respect this organization. I have seen all different events, all different fighters of MMA around the world. but I would like to try to put myself much more. Also, it was one of the inspirations for me to fight in Japan.
Plans for future?
I’ll just keep on training hard. I hope that RIZIN will give me a call again. I’ll just keep on training hard. My brother will be fighting on the 31st, so I would like to support him also.
How do you feel?
I feel great. It's been a long time coming. We were getting me to fight for RIZIN and it came just as we expected. A little longer than we wanted to. I trained the whole year for this moment. 2019 ended with a bang for me. I’m really happy about the performance and making my debut in Japan.
My impression of my opponent did not change drastically. It was more of a feeling out process because its been awhile since I fought. It was a bit longer than expected as in reach and height. I just basically starting to get comfortable and get closer to getting a finish.
Plans for future?
Originally I was supposed to fight in the lightweight grand prix. That didn't go through. We just had to wait till the next plan. If they got a welterweight grand prix, I'd like to fight in that, eventually win the belt and show the super saiyan powers again. If any other event before that takes place, I’m also signed with Bellator. The nice thing about it is i'm a Bellator and RIZIN fighter.
Do you have unfinished business with Damian Brown? Gomi also is in RIZIN.
It doesn't matter. Any opponent, put him in front of me. I’ll fight and represent the people that support me. Damian Brown, we do have unfinished business. I got robbed in Australia. It was a one sided affair. No disrespect to Damian, he is a great person but the judges screwed me in the fight. All the blood was from him. I believe we can make that match happen. It’d be nice to rematch. If not that's cool. If they want Gomi to rematch with me that would be an honor. It's a win-win for me either way regardless of the opponent. Whoever wins the belt too, I'm coming for the belt, lightweight or welterweight.
What differences did you feel for the weight class?
I was able to eat more. I carry a big frame to make lightweight. I just threw myself and make my way down there. I’m faster at welterweight. I proved it tonight. Getting that feel again, I believe my speed was a factor in all of this. Welterweights cool with me too. Jorge Masvidal moved up to welterweight, other guys moved up. I fought top guys in the world. Either way, lightweight, middleweight, even heavyweight for a monster match up, that's cool with me too.
There were other welterweights on the card.
MVP would be cool. He's a hype and showman. He brings the energy. Fighting a guy like that is nothing but fun and exciting. MVP vs super saiyan, its bound to be fireworks. Lorenz is great. He's a great striking fighter as well, he’s fought the top of the top and beat them too. Fighting guys like that would be an honor, I would love to face against them. Lightweight as well, anybody.
How much were you able to show on what you trained?
I only showed a glimpse of what im capable of putting in there. Did i go super saiyan? I’m not sure. My kaioken was up. I had to stay elusive, move with time, and hopefully the next fight I can unleash the true saiyan power. It's an honor to fight here. Can I have super saiyajin as my nickname? Now they know i'm a super saiyan. I felt empty when they introduced me as Jon Tuck.
How are you feeling?
I think I could’ve done better.
The impression I had of her has not changed, it was the same.
Plans for future?
I really can’t think of the future right now.
Was there anything you felt specifically you were able to accomplish? Something you were able to show in the match?
I think I was able to be very calm and try to throw punches and strikes. But she tried to armbar me from underneath. So I felt a pressure about the armbar. She had very strong striking power. But I didn’t think she had so much power, she had more power than I expected. She was very good at that.
Before the match, you said you’ve grown so much.
It was a different opponent, I couldn’t say anything. After the match everyone told me to keep confidence and keep going. I think that’s maybe one of the points that I should believe in myself.
In 2020, which level would you like to progress?
I still felt my weakness and as I keep on experiencing matches, there have been places where I was not aggressive. I don’t know what I can say about 2020.
Your opponent fought Miyuu Yamamoto before. Was the advice good?
Striking was as expected. But I wasn’t able to take her down, I was trying to take her back, because she had the armbar. I was able to control that.
You don’t know what you would be doing in the future. Would you like to show an explosive 2020? Or would you like to steadily grow?
Having experienced this match, and having the result of the match, I don’t know what to say but I would like to discuss with Miyuu and see where we can go from now.
Its not that I know any thoughts of fighting them. I’ve only had experience of 1 year and 3 months. I think Kana and RENA have 4 years. There's a difference in experience. I still need to grow. I feel reluctant to say at this point that I want to challenge them. Maybe in the future, of course I would like to have an opportunity to do that.
What kind of image did you have in winning? What was the reality?
I was training for ground moves, grappling, submissions. I wanted to win through grappling. Like I said, I was afraid of the armbar from underneath, I was unable to go into that.
What do you think you lacked?
it was just my will to go into grappling.
It was a great fight, I wished I would’ve pushed the pace a little bit more. I’m dealing with a cough, but no excuses. I wish the best for my opponent, she’s young and she has a great future.
No. I knew she was going to try to take me down. She’s a wrestler, Miyuu’s prodigy. I hope Miyuu’s proud of her. She should be.
I wanna come back here and fight again. I love RIZIN, I love you guys, the walkout , I have fun here. The travel sucks but I love the crowd. We don’t get that in America at all.
I could not do anything that I wanted. I’m more so thinking “what I am doing”? The funny thing is that I don’t have damage, nor pain in my body. I couldn’t do anything I wanted to do. I’m very disappointed in myself.
He came all out, he tried to take me down, I felt his strong will. I let him do that. I allowed him to. My match was really not good.
My elbow is so bad that I need to have a surgery on January 7th. I’ll think about what I wanted to do after that.
You said you couldn't do anything. Was that your own problem or something to do with your opponent?
No its my issue. It was totally different than what I had normally done. I would throw low, move around, try to spread things out. I couldn't do my normal moves.
How is your elbow?
I can’t bend it very much. I’ll probably need to take some split bones off. My hands are a bit numb. I’ll need to have surgery.
im really disappointed.
I know he was one of the top kickboxers. I wanted to have more of a kickboxing type of match.
Plans for future?
I want to have more MMA matches. This time was kickboxing. But I don’t regret accepting the kickboxing rule. I’m a fighter so anything that comes I’d like to accept.
Did you feel the stoppage was early?
I think it’s a rare occasion that MMA fighter tries kickboxing against a top kickboxer. I wanted to see how an MMA fighter could do well against a kickboxer in a kickboxing match. I wanted to really show that to the fans but I couldn’t so that's what I mean by I wanted to have a better kickboxing match.
Could you tell us the sequence?
I thought it was a punch instead of a kick. But they’re telling me it was a kick. It’s the first time I couldn’t stand firm after receiving a strike like that. The match has finished so I don’t know what to say but ‘m disappointed in myself.
Would you have any feelings that you’d like to have a rematch in kickboxing?
I’m a man so I don’t like to lose. It’s how you return from that.
Haruo Ochi is good, he's a formidable opponent. He’s somebody I couldn’t take lightly. The weight cut got to me a bit. I’m naturally a 125er. He's a great opponent i'm glad i got to showcase in front of Japan to go against the #1 in the world and beat him like I did. im happy, I want to thank my coaches, and thank him for letting me showcase my skills.
He's a lot stronger, and his stand up is better than I thought it was. I was a little light headed when I went out there. I was nervous performing in front of a huge arena like Saitama. I’m thankful to be here, it's an amazing experience, fighting in front of so many people. I went into autopilot mode. If they put me at 125 you'll see better performances from me.
My future plans, I plan on going up to 125 or 135 and just doing what I do. There’s some great performances I haven't been able to put out. Haruo Ochi is the #1 in the world, i beat him so i guess I'm the #1 guy at 115. at 125, i wanna be that guy too. I thought i beat Davison Figueiredo. I see myself as a formidable opponent. at 135 theres some killer in RIZIN also that I'd really like to scrap with. I’m just looking to be one of the best guys in the world an eb known as that. My coaches put a lot of love for me and i really appreciate them. Being a fighter. I love being a fighter and i love doing this. I thank God for that. I definitely beat Figueiredo, they gave him the nod in Brazil. I’d say RIZIN’s 125 and 135ers are harder than the UFC. That's why I want to mix it up with some of the best in the world. I was known as a trash talker, I just wanna be known as Jared Brooks the fighter and put on good performances. It wasn't the best today, I got here 2 days ago and cut like 15 lbs. Hopefully they can get me in here a little quicker so I can cut weight accordingly and put on better performances. I'm so blessed to be here and I really appreciate all of you.
You've had memorable moments on the mic. Why stop talking?
I’m in one of the most respectful countries in the world. I have to respect my opponents as well. My opponents are second to none. I don't want to be known as a colby or conor type of fighter. I wanna be known as somebody that puts myself on the line, through my experience and fists, not my mouth. Who knows, I might have a change of heart a year from now. As of right now I’m humbled and I really appreciate the opportunity of just coming and performing in front of a crap ton of people.
Reflection on this year?
The past 2 years has been crazy for me. I’m somebody that is a winner. I don't like losing. When I had those 2 losses in the UFC that were shams, I feel like I haven't really lost in my career. those 2 losses humbled me and put me in my place. the trash talking wasnt affecting others, it was affecting me. I had to humble myself a little. Its worked to my benefit. This past year was kind of crazy. I had a streak of bad luck, i finally got past that, karma is in good graces with me. I’m pretty happy to be where i am right now. Beating haruo ochi, a big name over here in the strawweight division. I don't plan on cutting down to 115 again, but if they make me I will. I want to fight the best in the world in bigger weight classes. I want the money and I want the belts. I really want that at the end of the day. Watching randleman vs fedor, I've wanted that since I was a kid. I am the best 115er in the world and I am the best 125er in the world. That's all I see myself as. I’m waiting for somebody to actually beat me.
Are you looking at any of the 135ers here in Japan?
Kai is legit. he’s shown leaps and bounds. I don't think he's faced anybody as fast technical as me, and someone with a gameplan. He fights guys that go for broke and that's exciting. But I think I can beat Kai Asakura. Manel Kape is really good. I’m not afraid of anybody in this fight game. If they beat me, hats off to them. But right now I’m looking for those big fish in the pond. If I can beat those guys I'll be well respected. I’m looking for respect and getting big fish on my hook. They gotta pay me. I know those guys are getting pretty good pay. I’m ranked number 1 at 115, it's not 135 and I understand that. if I can get up to 135, i think that it'd be a really good weight class for me. I know you guys probably don't think I’m up at that level, but just watch. Just watch.
I’m feeling good. My pride’s a little bit hurt, other than that, I’m fine.
I knew Kanna was a tough opponent. But whenever I stepped into the cage with her, I found out she was a lot tougher than I expected her to be.
I love it here. I would love to come back. I know I didn't win, I hope I still put on a great performance for the fans. It would be an honor to come back. I’d love to fight here within 6 to 8 weeks.
I just lost. That’s it.
I thought wrestling would be difficult to handle for me, so I thought I’d go striking. But his back control was very good. That was different from what I had thought. That was probably a key point in my loss. Plans?
If I had won, I could’ve said more, but the result today I have to start from 0 again.
Where do you think you made a mistake?
I was practicing when he came for a takedown to try to stand right back up again. But he took the back. I need to prepare for that. I really needed to be cautious more of that move. That was probably the biggest point.
You were #1 in the world.
Its my very first time having that someone close to being #1. I need to consider how I could shorten that difference.
I haven’t had much damage. I was able to bring out moves naturally.
I didn’t think that I would be able to stop him in the 1st round. I was thinking to knock him out in the 2nd or 3rd round.
Ashida came up in my ring as kickboxing style, but I would like to practice more mma and then fight an MMA match in the future.
Would you like to fight again in kickboxing/mma?
I think it would be kickboxing. I don't think the transition to MMA is quick. It would be difficult. But in the future I would try going into Bellator MMA if my skills improve.
How did you feel in the Saitama Super Arena?
I felt great. From my high school days, it was a dream that I would go out with the entrance theme. when I was in middle school, the K-1 video game I was playing with my friends. This was a very good thing. Did you feel your body was moving fast?
Yeah, previously I relied on my adrenaline. But today I was able to start fast. Receiving his punches I thought I could move up to 70kg. I would like to try to make RIZIN more popular through kickboxing. Theme song?
The blue hearts would be perfect for me. I thought I tried to say something cool. But thinking the period I wasn't able to have a match. I wanted to appreciate my sponsor, my family who had supported me throughout the period of not having matches. Watching matches that I’m not in was very hard for me. So that's why I was emotional.
Tenshin has a momentum. How do you feel?
Well rather than tenshin, I’m at my weight division there are better fighters. We should try to do a better job. I thought of retiring or other things that sort of I had concerns with. Otherwise I'd don't have issues. It's just my personal emotions just came down without having a match. I really appreciate the fact i was able to fight today.
I was able to win by submission. I feel good. Impression?
I think I didn’t feel anything different. Plans?
I think it's going to be a very tough year because there are many good fighters in this class. I wish to get in that mix.
Looking back at 2019, how was it?
I lost and that was the start of 2019. I lost to Miyuu Yamamoto again. that was a tough loss. I was able to find again my style. I think that was a good thing.
do you get nervous before a match?
I never felt any nervousness. That was ok.
It seems like your grappling has improved. Was that something you've been working on recently?
I really didn't emphasize on my ground skills. it just came naturally. The angle that hurt her elbow, I was surprised at the angle. I just went and tried to power through.
You wanted to end the NYE in a good way.
the match itself the content there are some points that I’m disappointed at but I'm glad that I won by submission. I’m happy about that. I felt I wasn't alone with my team there.
It looked like she was tapping at one time.
I’m not sure. Thats gone, I'm not gonna say anything about it. I’m not sure. I had a better match than last time.
Do you feel like you like to fight more in the cage?
I felt much more comfortable fighting in the cage.
December 4, 2019
≫ BELLATOR JAPAN post lims and RIZIN.20 fight annoucement