On May 3, MMANews.com's own Chris Howie sat down with current PRIDE 205 lb. sensation Sokoudjou to discuss his wins over “Lil Nog” and Arona, his one pro MMA loss, his judo match with Karo Parisyan, his thoughts on Fedor grabbing the ropes versus his teammate Matt Lindland, his upcoming PRIDE fight in July and tons more!
Part one was put online yesterday and can be read by CLICKING HERE. Part two is available below.
SOKOUDJOU INTERVIEW – PART TWO
Chris Howie of MMANews.com: Your last two fights have been pretty short. I believe you finished [Antonio Rogerio] Nogueira in something like 27 seconds and the [Ricardo] Arona fight was under three minutes. How well are you prepared cardio-wise for a fight that could go three rounds, or even five rounds in a title fight?
Sokoudjou: The fight against Arona – my preparation was very hard because he is a pretty intense guy. I was ready for a hard 20 minutes of hard fighting. Conditioning-wise I went through hell out here training twice a day, everyday. I was ready to be in the ring for however long it would have gone but fortunately the fight ended earlier, but my cardio was up there and I trained hard. I was ready if it had of gone five seconds or 20 minutes, whatever the situation could have been that day.
MMANews.com: How do you feel you match up with some of the top ranked fighters such as Chuck Liddell or Maurico “Shogun” Rua?
Sokoudjou: Well first of all I feel honored to be even mentioned with guys like that. I’m a fighter. I want to be the best at what I do in my weight class or at any weight class for that matter. Being matched up with them makes me feel like I’ve done my work although I think I’m still in the learning stage for MMA. I just feel like I’ve been doing the right thing and I have to make sure I keep doing it to take myself where I want to be.
MMANews.com: Based on what I’ve seen I’d have to say your doing a pretty good job of that.
Sokoudjou: Thank you sir.
MMANews.com: Would you ever be willing to move up in weight to Heavyweight?
Sokoudjou: Heavyweight, Light Heavyweight, or whatever weight you want me to be it comes down to contract and all that. In Judo I was competing at Heavyweight so for me I don’t really have any weight preferences. Weight for me doesn’t matter because all I care about is my conditioning and my strategy. With my contract I don’t think I’ll be fighting at Heavyweight, but hey, I’m a fighter. I’ll go wherever a fight will take me or my contract takes me and I’ll make sure I’m ready.
MMANews.com: But if you had to you could easily go to Heavyweight, I mean you’re a pretty big guy so I assume it wouldn’t be a problem.
Sokoudjou: Of course, I have to cut weight to get to 205. Right now I’m sure I’m way over 205. I have not done any conditioning for a long time. I’ve been eating at a buffet next door so I’m sure I could make Heavyweight no problem [laughs].
MMANews.com: I believe for Matt Lindland’s fight in Russia against Fedor Emelianenko I saw you in his corner. What did you think of Fedor, were you impress by his abilities?
Sokoudjou: What I was really impressed with was that he had to hang onto the ropes to survive Matt Lindland. That was just ridiculous. That’s what I was impressed with. I was like “Hey Fedor, that’s a rookie mistake” actually I’m not even going to call it a mistake. Rookies don’t make that kind of mistake. I don’t know it was in Russia, I don’t know where the ref was. C’mon man, it’s Fedor. Why do you need to hang onto the ropes to defend the takedown?
MMANews.com: Have you had a chance to train with Matt Lindland or Randy Couture?
Sokoudjou: I’ve trained with Lindland especially when I was getting ready for my first fight. I didn’t have a chance to train with him for my second fight because he went to Colorado to train with some wrestlers. I haven’t trained with Randy Couture yet because he’s based in Vegas and we’re here in California.
MMANews.com: Outside of the gym what do you do when you’re not training? What do you do to kill time and have fun?
Sokoudjou: I teach some classes I have some private sessions. I just goof around, you know, I just hang around, go home and watch TV and eat [laughs]. That’s pretty much what I do.
MMANews.com: Your fight with Glover Teixeria last December in the WEC ended rather quickly with you being TKO’d. Considering how quickly your last two fights ended with Arona and Noguiera ended with you getting the KO, how do you feel a rematch with Glover would go?
Sokoudjou: I mean I’m not going to use excuses like I was sick or I wasn’t ready. Many things happened before that fight. My strategy was wrong for the fight. I wasn’t able to switch gears in the cage… we trained for a jiu-jitsu guy and knew nothing of his boxing skills. He had a better strategy than me on that night. That’s basically what happened. I hope it would go better for me if we fought again.
Sokoudjou says he's returning to the PRIDE ring in July …
MMANews.com: You’ve won the U.S. Open of judo in 2001, correct?
Sokoudjou: Yes sir.
MMANews.com: I’ve read some stories that after winning the tournament you competed with Karo Parisyan and he won. What is the story here?
Sokoudjou: Karo Parisyan? You know what? I know I fought some Armenian guy. That was after a head injury I had and I wasn’t training as hard. I had signed up for the tournament ahead of time so when it came tournament time I went up anyway. I didn’t really know anyone at the time when that happened. I was kind of new here. I don’t remember if it was Karo Parisyan or not but I know it was an Armenian guy and I know I only lost at the last second. Was it Karo Parisyan? I don’t know I’ll have to check on that.
MMANews.com: I read an interview done with Karo yesterday and he said he competed against you. He said you were powerful.
Sokoudjou: Yeah, I did compete against an Armenian guy but I didn’t know his name or anything or who he was at the time. I know Karo is a judo guy but I never thought that was him at the time. That was like four or five years ago. The guy that had the team had already entered us and if I hadn’t went he would have had to forfit because he wouldn’t have had enough for his team.
MMANews.com: I’ve read some interviews with Shogun in which he calls out Dan Henderson [and] says he wants to fight him for the PRIDE Middleweight title. How do you see that fight going?
Sokoudjou: How do I see that fight going? I’m not even going to call it a fight. It will be a beating. I mean Shogun is crazy to be calling him out because he’ll get knocked out. Good luck to him trying to fight Dan. I’m not even going to call that a fight, I’ll call that a killing.
MMANews.com: With Zuffa purchasing PRIDE it will change the rules and some of Shogun’s offense will be gone because he won’t be able to use stomps and kicks to the head of a downed opponent. So that will take some of his usual game plan out of the picture.
Sokoudjou: Either way I don’t see Shogun being able to take Dan down and being able to use the kicks on the ground. That alone leaves him with the stand-up and I don’t see him out-boxing or out-kick boxing Dan Henderson. If I were Dan and I were fighting Shogun I wouldn’t even train. I’d just go home and play video games then come beat the crap out of him.
MMANews.com: Maybe on the next PRIDE card we could see Dan Henderson vs. Maurcio “Shogun” Rua and Sokoudjou vs. Wanderlei Silva.
Sokoudjou: [laughing] You know what that would be beautiful. That would just be awesome for me. Fighting on the same card as Dan and fighting Silva, there would be nothing better. This time I would like to go the full 3 rounds with Silva because he’s one of the greatest fighters. I enjoy watching him fight and I would hate for the fight to stop because the time was up. I would love to go the full distance.
MMANews.com: You said that Wanderlei is one of your favorite fighters to watch. Who are some of your other favorites to watch?
Sokoudjou: In MMA I love watching Dan fight. Next would be Matt [Lindland] and then Randy [Couture]. Wanderlei is up there but those are my favorites to watch fighting.
MMANews.com: You said Randy Couture was your last favorite to watch?
Sokoudjou: Yeah Randy Couture.
MMANews.com: I think everyone loves watching Randy Couture fight.
Sokoudjou: Yeah, it’s interesting man. He’s like in his 40’s and he kicks everybody's ass and I’m like, “man, am I going to be able to do that when I’m his age.”
MMANews.com: I think Couture surprises everyone when he steps in the octagon.
Sokoudjou: Yeah, he’s a crazy man.
MMANews.com: So you have two fights left on your PRIDE contract. If you had to pick two opponents to fight, who would they be?
Sokoudjou: [laughs] Are you trying to get me in trouble? If I had to pick I’d pick two girls so I wouldn’t have to train. No, I’m just joking. I’m a fighter so I’ll fight anybody. If Wanderlei Silva wants to fight me I wouldn’t mind fighting him. I’d love to fight him but I am not the one that makes those decisions. All I can do is show up for training, show up for the fight, follow the game plan and get paid.
MMANews.com: Would you give Ricardo Arona one of those fights?
Sokoudjou: Sure. I have two fights left. I’m here, I’m not going anywhere. I’ll fight anyone who wants to fight me. Has Arona said he wanted to fight me again?
MMANews.com: I’ve just read that he thought it was a lucky win and that he was sick.
Sokoudjou: Yeah, I mean I’m going to say that’s stupid. We're both 205 [lbs] so if he wants to fight me again, I’ll fight him again and If I beat him again and he says the same thing than I’ll look at that as disrespect towards me. I’m not going to say that bullshit or anything but if he wants to fight me again just make sure you don’t come in sick the next time. I have been competing my whole life and people have beaten me up all over the place but I’m not going to say I was sick or make excuses. To me it’s not a loss if I learned something from it.
MMANews.com: One final question. Do you train any BJJ or work on a ground game?
Sokoudjou: Yeah, we have a jiu-jitsu instructor here. He helps me a lot with my ground game. I’m a blue belt in jiu-jitsu, man. I know some jiu-jitsu. I’ve done a few tournaments.
MMANews.com: Ok. So is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans?
Sokoudjou: I’d just like to thank my fans for being, you know, my fans [laughs]. Hopefully my next fight will last a bit longer so everyone can see a bit more of me. I hope to be fighting in July so I hope everyone is ready for me.
MMANews.com: Alright Sokoudjou. I’d like to thank you for taking the time out of your day to speak with me. Good luck in your next fight.
Sokoudjou: Yeah, no problem Chris. Thanks.
Don't forget to catch part one of our exclusive interview with Sokoudjou from yesterday at this link.
To read more exclusive MMANews.com fighter interviews, simply CLICK HERE for our full interview-archive section.