In one week 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Gold Medalist in Judo Satoshi Ishii fights Fedor Emelianenko at Fight For Japan: Genki Desu Ka Omisoka 2011. While JMMA fighters have generally fallen behind the best OF US, Ishii moved to the US to pursue a full-time Mixed Martial Arts career, holds a record of 4-1-1, and has the goal of being UFC champion.
LowKick.com catches up with the Olympian.
Anton Gurevich: You seem to have the majority of your camp for Fedor in United States. What can you tell about your camp, and training with the coach Ed Buckley?
Satoshi Ishii: A couple of years ago I decided to move to the United States to train full-time in MMA. With Southern California being the mecca for gyms and fighters I decided to move to Irvine, California. My main gym that I train at and represent is Mark Munoz's gym Reign Training Center. This gym provides me with all of the training I need to become a complete fighter in all areas of MMA - high level striking, wrestling, and grappling. One of the biggest benefits of training at Reign are the professional fighters that train there full-time. Along with the world class fighters that come through the gym for part of their training camps such as Wanderlei Silva, Fabricio Werdum, Babalu, Alistair Overeem, and Shogun Rua just to name a few.
I met my Muay Thai Coach Ed Buckley over a year ago at Reign Training Center. He has over 20+ years of experience in Muay Thai and understands MMA striking very well. When I first met Coach Ed he was working with Krzysztof Soszynski at the time and I asked if I could do some mittwork with him. From the first time we worked together I knew he was the coach for me. In the past year my striking has improved tremendously. Coach Ed has become my main coach who oversee's all of my training and directs all aspects of my training camps.
AG: What in your opinion is your biggest advantage coming to this fight? How do you see your Judo skills coming in effect against Fedor Emelianenko?
SI: I would not say that I have any real advantage over Fedor. The man is a legend and has faced all styles. But I am confident wherever this fight goes. Whether we stand and trade or on the ground. As far as my Judo against him, well yes I do feel my Judo will play a big part of this fight if he decides to clinch with me.
AG: Fedor was on a three-fight losing streak before beating Jeff Monson in November. Do you think he's a different fighter since his days at PRIDE? Do you see any weaknesses in his game?
SI: Fedor has been at this a very long time and has fought everyone. I respect his accomplishments and look up to him. It is a complete honor to step in the ring with him. No I do not think that he has become a different fighter since Pride. I think he has become a different fighter from his recent losses. He has become more tentative. You can see it in his fight with Jeff Monson. As for weaknesses he is a complete fighter. He can win fights both standing and on the ground.
AG: Your prediction for the fight with Fedor Emelianenko? Submission, Decision or KO/TKO?
SI: I feel that I will win this fight via decision. I am no longer just a Judoko. Fans will see how far my striking, wrestling, and grappling have come since I started MMA.
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