|Brazilian Top team BJJ black belt, Rodrigo Nogueira is one of the favorites to win the unique belt of the Pride Open Weight competition. During his bout on July 1st, the game of the younger BJJ black belt Werdum surprised Nogueira. Fabricio Werdum was seen as an underdog by MMA community, who declared months before he might be able to fight a personal icon, Rodrigo Minotauro. with Werdum at the Pride Open weight Tournament
Brazilian Top team BJJ black belt, Rodrigo Nogueira is one of the favorites to win the unique belt of the Pride Open Weight competition. During his bout on July 1st, the game of the younger BJJ black belt Werdum surprised Nogueira. Fabricio Werdum was seen as an underdog by MMA community, who declared months before he might be able to fight a personal icon, Rodrigo Minotauro. The pundits were wrong, and Werdum stood for three strong rounds and even though he was defeated by unanimous decision, he gave Minotauro all he could handle and even cut Nogueira. But in the end the more experienced fighter knew how to rule the fight and now thinks about the title. On September 10th, he will have a chance to prove he really deserves this title and to get it, he must defeat one of three of the best athletes in the Japanese organization: The fearless Mirko Cro Cop, American fighter Josh Barnett, or Pride Middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva. Take a look now at the full interview conceded by the Brazilian to MMA Ring Report, directly from the hotel, in Japan.
MMA Ring Report - What did you think about your fight against Fabrício Werdum?
Rodrigo Minotauro - I say Werdum is a tough guy on the feet and on the ground. He certainly improved his game on the feet. I hunted him in the first round and he survived. He escaped from my positions and showed he has been training a lot of Boxing with Cafuringa (a Brazilian Boxing coach). So the first round was excellent for me and he showed a lot of heart. In the second and third rounds the fight was more in the ground and he once again showed his Jiu-Jitsu skill. I swept him every time he took me down and I also got a guillotine shot.
MMA Ring Report - Some people say his Jiu-Jitsu is better than yours because he has been competing in more BJJ competitions than you. What do you say about that?
Rodrigo Minotauro - I agree he has been fighting more BJJ tournaments then me. I train Jiu-Jitsu for Vale-Tudo, but I tell you for sure if I step inside a BJJ competition today I would be between the top fighters.
MMA Ring Report - In this last bout you seemed a little tired... Is it true you were sharing the same physical trainer with Wanderlei Silva?
Rodrigo Minotauro - Dude, to be honest I was a little heavier and I got tired. I was doing my physical training with Rogério Cardoso, known as Rogerão. Rafael Alejarra trained me for few weeks and he trained Wanderlei. I train with everybody and all guys are very helpful. What happened during the fight was a consequence of a eye-cut I suffered during my trainings. I ended not training as I expected and I was a little out of shape during the Pride.
MMA Ring Report - What did you think about Josh Barnett, Mirko and Silvas bouts?
Rodrigo Minotauro - I have to say those are the best fighters nowadays. Were the top 4 now. Here in Japan I heard a lot of comments about it. People were expecting us to show itin the next phase. About the bouts, I watched them all. Josh Barnett did what was expected from him. Mark Hunt didnt know how to defend himself on the ground and started training Jiu-Jitsu weeks ago. He also suffered a beautiful takedown. Cro Cop moves very well and he abused with the kicks... always protecting his injured leg. Silva did a nice fight and imposed a hard game on Fujita, who didnt handle it. Exchanging punches, Silva felt he might KO him and didnt stop when he had a chance. But so far Im confident to take this belt to Brazil.
MMA Ring Report - Who would you like to fight in the semifinals?
Rodrigo Minotauro - I say Wanderlei Silva or Mirko Cro Cop, because they mean good fight for me. They do their best to KO
they are knockers. Barnett is more like a player and I am sure he wouldnt seek the KO. He would try to put me down
different from the others, who are more explosive.
MMA Ring Report - But what do you think Pride might do? Who do you think you are going to get?
Rodrigo Minotauro - I am not sure
Pride is not predictable
not a clue!
MMA Ring Report - People are expecting a bout between you and Silva a long time ago. In case it happens
how it would be?
Rodrigo Minotauro - It would be great. Wanderlei Silva is a great fighter and gives his heart in the game. He is unquestionably one of the top fighters of the world. Not even mentioning the rivalry between our gyms: Chute Boxe and Brazilian Top Team
it would be a great match! Each part does its job. Every time we have met you might be sure it will be a private war: Paulo Filho vs. Murilo Ninja, Ricardo Arona vs. Wanderlei
MMA Ring Report - Tell me about the mood in the ring... Why was it Silva didnt compliment all fighters in the ring? It was a tense mood?
Rodrigo Minotauro - Particularly in Japan everybody speaks with everybody. There is so much respect between the fighters. In my case, I speak with everybody because I dont see them as opponents, but co-workers. About Silva, I dont know for sure, maybe because of his team he doesnt speak with everybody, creating a rivalry mood
he doesnt speak with Cro Cop
Josh doesnt talk to him either. In my case, I dont have a problem with him... at all!
MMA Ring Report - For the first time, people in your country might watch a live broadcasting of Pride without PPV... trough the cable channel bandsports
what did you think about that?
Rodrigo Minotauro - I think it is a very important step because Pride is becoming too popular in Brazil and Brazilians were not allowed to watch... This event, in particular was great because there were seven Brazilians fighting and its good to show my people what we do for a living and how far we take the Brazilian flag. This sport has always featured Brazilians on the top in every final. Except for the Pride GP where Mark Coleman was the champion., Brazilians didnt reach the final. This is huge and all Brazilians should have access to it.
MMA Ring Report - Your brother defeated Dutch fighter Alistair Overeem
do you think he might fight for the middleweight belt soon?
Rodrigo Minotauro - I dont know. What I know is Alistair was getting closer to a belt dispute, so I wonder if Rogério Minotouro is on his way. During his fight I realize he took way too long to find the perfect distance. But when he found his game he imposed it to Overeem and hit him good. He also obliged Overeem to switch his strategy! Rogério is in the top of the category for a long time and I am sure he will seek the belt!