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PRIDE BUSHIDO Preview: In Depth with SEAN SHERK
Submitted by: Keith Mills
Sean Sherk was recently added to the PRIDE FC: BUSHIDO VOLUME 2 fightcard which will take place on February 15th, 2004 at the Yokohama Arena in Japan and is scheduled to debut on North American pay per view on March 21st, 2004.
Sherk is best known for his UFC Welterweight title shot against at the time Champion Matt Hughes, which Sherk lost by unanimous decision in April of last year. He also has victories over such fan-familiar names as Benji Radach, Tiki Ghosen and Jutaro Nakao in the UFC, UFC vets Karo Parisyan back in 2000, and victories in just about every top tier North American promotion from UCC (now TKO) to King of the Cage. He has only fought in Japan once before in Pancrase in July of 2001.
KM: You have had three fights since Matt Hughes in the UFC. Werenít those all in Minnesota? SS: I had two fights here in Minnesota and I had one fight out in Tijuana, Mexico. I won all three.
KM: Didnít you have two in December? SS: I had two in December. One on December 12th and another on December 28th.
KM: Was training through the holidays any problem at all? SS: Well, obviously I would rather be enjoying the holidays with everybody else but this is just part of what I do for a living. Actually I just got married two weeks ago. That is why I was fighting as frequently as I could and also working a full-time job as well.
KM: Congratulations. So how is the married life treating you? Is it softening you up at all? SS: Not at all, it is really not any different. Weíve been together for nine years. The ring is kind of uncomfortable.
KM: Oh, the wedding ring. For a moment I thought you meant the fight ring. Congratulations again. SS: Thank you.
KM: Your three fights since the UFCÖhow can you put those in the perspective of the rest of your career? SS: Basically UFC more or less turned their back on me so I wasnít able to get back into their show. The Pride: Bushido shows, we really didnít know when or if I was going to be fighting on those shows so more or less Iím just trying to stay busy and make some money in the process so I can pay my bills.
KM: How long ago did you hear about this fight? SS: The one Iím fighting in now I heard about it probably four weeks ago.
KM: We only started to hear about it like a week ago. SS: Weíve been talking with them and negotiating and figuring out a bunch of stuff. I basically knew I was going to fight about four weeks ago.
KM: So how do you feel about getting in Bushido? SS: Iím really happy. This is a great opportunity. Itís the biggest show in the world, Pride and Pride Bushido. Two biggest shows in the world. This is a great opportunity for me and hope to go over there and show them what I can do.
KM: This is only the second Bushido show. Do you look at this as being on the level of Pride or being a feeder for Pride? SS: I guess I kind of look at it as it is kind of at the level of Pride. I think their last show had about 45,000. You got guys like Wanderlei Silva and Cro Cop fighting on these cards so itís kind of a feeder as well because they also said if I do real well in the Bushido show theyíll move me on to the Pride show.
KM: And itís on pay-per-view later. SS: What I heard was it was going to be on in March. (Note: Sean is right about this, the ppv broadcast is March 21st).
KM: What do you think about your opponent Ryuki Ueyama? SS: To be honest with you I donít really know a whole lot about him. I havenít seen any videos so I donít know what to expect. As far as my part goes Iím training really hard three or four times a day. I think it should be a really good fight. I like the Pride rules as well because you can knee and kick on the ground and I think that really plays into my type of fighting.
KM: You usually have a more aggressive style than I see with a lot of the fighters but is there any concern if you were to shoot in he could knee you from a sprawl of or something like that? SS: With my shot when I shoot I donít stop shooting until I get the takedown, so Iím not going to shoot and sit on all fours and let him knee me. If I shoot and he sprawls Iím going to drive him right through the ropes.
KM: Have you done anything to prepare specifically for the difference in rules? SS: Yeah. Iím working a lot of knees on the ground, working a lot of kicks and stomps. Anything that presents itself I think Iíll be ready to take advantage of it quickly.
KM: This is only about a week away. Are you finishing up your training? SS: Iím still going full-force. I got three more days here; a full day on Monday, full day on Tuesday, Iíll probably get two workouts in before I leave on Wednesday, and I plan on getting one or two workouts when I get to Japan as well. I arrive on Thursday in Japan.
KM: Any concern about the time zone difference? SS: Yeah, there always is. I remember last time I fought over there I was really caught off guard by the time zone difference. It was a different experience. This time I think Iíll be more prepared.
KM: The only fighter Iíve heard talk about specifically how to train for a time zone difference was Denis Kang. He said the general rule of thumb is you should have one day of accommodation per time zone. Obviously that isnít going to be an option to get out there a week or so early. What can you do ahead of time to prepare for this? SS: Ahead of time Iím changing up my sleep schedule a little. Iím staying up a little later at night until about three in the morning. I try to take naps during the day because our day is their night. As soon as I get out there Iíll start my workout schedule right around five or six oíclock at night. Iíll get used to it that way.
KM: You are now 21-1-1? SS: 25-1. (Note: this includes three fights listed as amateur on databases which usually have Sherk at 18-1-1 or 19-1-1 as a pro).
KM: Sorry. Your only loss was to Hughes. How do you feel about having a loss to Hughes as your only loss? SS: Of course I wish I didnít have the loss because then Iíd be the World Champion right now. I think I really learned a lot in that fight and its definitely changed my outlook on fighting and it will make me a better fighter. Twenty-five minutes in the octagon with the number one fighter in the world, itís a great experience. I think itís going to make me a better fighter in the long run. I want another shot of course. Iím the kind of guy who wants to keep coming and fight the best guys out there.
KM: Since that fight you have had three more wins. A lot of fighters the first time they lose theyíll lose two or three in a row or take more time off. You got right back in there and started winning again. SS: Like I said I have to make a living, I have bills to pay, and Iím not going to lose focus on what I need to do. I need to fight on the big shows and fight the best guys and I just want to continue to gain experience in the process.
KM: Are you focusing on Japan or will we continue to see you fight in the Mid-West as well? SS: Iím going to focus on whatever comes my way. Right now I just have a one-fight deal with Pride. Hopefully they like what they see and sign me to some more fights. In the meantime anything that comes my way Iím going to take. I want to stay busy. My goal right now is to fight nine or ten times this year.
KM: Being your shot at Pride is there any pressure to put on a good show? SS: Yeah, for sure. There is a lot of pressure to put on a good show. This is a very big opportunity and I canít let this opportunity pass me by. Iím not going to be holding still for a second. The second I get out there Iím coming full-force and Iím not going to quit until the referee tells me to stop.
KM: Anything else you want to get across to the fans? SS: Yeah, Iíd like to thank the fans for the continued support. Obviously I wouldnít be where I am at if it wasnít for all the support. Also Iíd like to thank all the guys at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy. That is where I do all my training. My trainer Greg Nelson. None of this would be possible if it wasnít for all those guys.
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