SportsNavi, translated by Korey Howard
This is an interview with Joachim Hansen, who is known for having beaten Bushido ace Takanori Gomi to become the 6th Shooto welterweight champion. The interview took place on July 15th, just prior to PRIDE Bushido 8, which will be held on the 17th at the Nagoya Rainbow Hall.
-Your first fight in PRIDE comes day after tomorrow. How do you feel?
First impressions are important in PRIDE. I want to have a good match for all the people who come to see the show. I have always loved PRIDE and it was my dream to fight here. But up until now there were only heavyweights and middleweights, so there wasn’t a weight class for me to fight in. There are a lot of fighters in Bushido who are just the right size for me to fight, so that’s why I decided to fight this time. Of course, I am aware that there are a lot of tough fighters like Kawajiri and Gomi.
-How do you plan to deal with Imanari, your opponent this time?
He’s a good fighter, but his fighting style looks really strange. He has excellent leg locks, so I have to be careful that I don’t get caught. I’m going to try to throw a lot of punches on the ground. If we’re standing up, I plan to use my boxing game, but I’m sure he’ll try to take it to the ground. He does weird stuff like jumping leg locks – I guess that might be the Japanese style, but I have never faced that before, so it’s kind of exciting. Anyway, the way I fight is just going to depend on how the match goes.
-There are plans for a Bushido Grand Prix this fall. Any thoughts on that?
If I win this fight, I am sure I will be able to participate in it. Gomi is saying that nobody in this weight class can beat him and that he wants to fight Wanderlei Silva next. If he fights Wanderlei, I wish him luck. But before he goes up to another weight I’d like to fight him and beat him again, hopefully in the finals of the Grand Prix.
-So you want to take the title of “ace” away from Gomi?
Of course, I’d like to become the top fighter. But right now, I want to concentrate on my match with Imanari. It’s good to have dreams, but it’s more important to pay attention to reality. You have to take it step by step. Fortunately I’m in good condition, so I’ll do my best. I don’t know if it will end with one punch or if it will take some time, but I want to take control and fight the fight my way.
-Tell us about your tattoos and what they mean.
(Smiling) I had a friend do my first one when I was 16. I’ve got a Viking symbol on my right arm. I’ve got a spider’s web on my left elbow, and the hammer of Thor on my upper arm. My grandmother is from Scotland, so I have some Celtic art in there, too. And my chest. . . This is Jesus on the cross. It means if you do good unto others that it will come back to you. Of course, when they come at me in the ring I’ll do everything I can to beat them. (haha) All the PRIDE fighters are professionals, so I think each fight will be tough. But after the fights finish, we’ll shake hands, and maybe even become friends. It doesn’t happen that way in Norway. There are a lot of street fights. So I think that’s a great thing.