Link (in Japanese)
As translated by a Sherdogger:
Happy New Year, Fedor! I imagine that you've started 2008 feeling good.
Yes. I'm feeling very good (smile)
After your fight yesterday, it looked like you were more delighted than usual. Was this a special victory for you?
It was. Actually, friends of mine came all the way from Russia to support me. During the fight I heard them cheering, so that probably explains my facial expression.
Were there any particular reasons why your friends came to Japan to watch you fight this time?
It wasn't really that I invited them. They said they wanted to come.
I see. They wanted to see you fight in Japan at least once.
I think so. They had never been to Japan before. I think watching the fights live in person got their adrenaline going.
I think it was their first time to see you greeted by the fans with such a warm welcome in such a huge arena. Did they mention their thoughts after the fight?
They were surprised to see such a large crowd cheering and felt a sense of pride. (smile)
It seemed that you received louder cheers this time than usual. Did you sense that?
Yes I felt it. That kind of support and that kind of arena atmosphere - that's why I came back to Japan. It makes me happy.
So, as long as that kind of support is there, will you continue to fight in Japan?
Can you give us your impressions on the fight with Hong Man Choi?
He's such a huge and powerful fighter. He's the biggest and strongest fighter I've ever faced. In that sense, I couldn't match up with him in the strength department so I was taken down. But I was confident that I could win with technique, and was able to beat him with a joint lock.
So was Choi stronger than you expected?
No I wouldn't say more than I expected. Before the fight, I calmly analyze analyze the opponent so I never underestimate him. Because of that I almost never get surprised or panic. But when I went to take him down, I was surprised when he went for the takedown himself. I thought he would keep it standing.
I was surprised to see you get taken down twice.
But if the ropes weren't there on the second takedown, I would have taken him down. He was leaning against the rope to defend the takedown.
What did you think of Choi's ground and pound? You didn't get hit much but your face is a bit swollen.
My face isn't swollen from the punches. It's from my face rubbing the canvas.
So he particularly didn't have any effective offense..
No he didn't. Like I said before, he is huge and powerful and was a difficult opponent. But he didn't have an effective attack.
When you got him in an armbar the first time, was he able to escape because his arms are so long that you couldn't get the leverage?
Actually, the first armbar was in deep. I heard his arm pop a couple of times. But when he lifted me, my position changed a bit and lost the angle. I didn't think I could finish him and didn't want to use any unnecessary energy so I let go. I didn't want to make the same mistake the second time, so I made sure it (armbar) was tight.