It’s hard to believe that it has been five months since highly regarded lightweight fighter Joachim Hansen has stepped into an MMA ring.
Though he is currently the #4 lightweight in the MMAWeekly Rankings, Hansen has not seen action since Pride Bushido 10 this past April when he knocked out Luiz Azeredo in one of the most entertaining fights of the year.
“Why isn’t he fighting?” you may be asking yourself. Well, the answer is both simple and complicated at the same time. Recently, MMAWeekly spoke with Hansen to ask the Norwegian why he’s been out of action and when we might see him again doing what he does best.
MMAWeekly: First off, Joachim, it’s been nearly half a year since we last saw you fight. When will you be returning to action and why have you been absent from recent PRIDE events?
Joachim Hansen: Hopefully I’ll fight on New Year’s Eve for PRIDE. The problem is I only have one fight left on my contract with PRIDE and I believe they want to give me that fight at Shockwave, and that’s a problem because I haven’t had a fight since April.
It’s a long time to go without a fight, so I have to take a couple of amateur boxing matches here in Norway in autumn. I really hope that if they give me the last fight on the contract on NYE I hope it will be against the Champion, Takanori Gomi.
MMAWeekly: Is there any chance they will let you have a fight somewhere else before then?
Joachim Hansen: That’s also a little problem because we have to get permission from PRIDE also – even if it’s going to do amateur fights like boxing – so my manager is going to be in contact with PRIDE and hope they give me permission to do that [amateur boxing]. I need stay in shape, mentally and physically before a fight on NYE, so I hope they will let me fight in amateur boxing.
MMAWeekly: What about Shooto? You’ve fought there before for special occasions.
Joachim Hansen: Before when I fought in Shooto when I was still under contract with PRIDE was no problem because they have cooperation. The problem with Shooto is that the pay isn’t as well and also the risk is very high of getting injury to go to Shooto before PRIDE.
MMAWeekly: But amateur boxing doesn’t pay any money at all.
Joachim Hansen: No, it doesn’t pay anything but you can get hurt more seriously in Shooto than you can in amateur boxing. With the helmet, big gloves and the amateur boxing rules here in Norway, if you get rocked hard it can get stopped, so that’s a difference.
MMAWeekly: Do you think you can get the kind of competition you are used to in MMA when fighting amateur boxing?
Joachim Hansen: I think I can get matched pretty hard in boxing because people into fighting here in Norway know my name. I don’t want a victory in an easy fight; it doesn’t feel as good as when you win a hard fight.
MMAWeekly: A lot of MMA fighters such as Chris Lytle and Jeff Monson have said boxing helps their MMA fighting, do you feel the same?
Joachim Hansen: Yeah, it’s very good for the MMA. I box two times a week and when I box with pure boxers I learn pure boxing and I mix it into my MMA style. It’s very good for judgment in a fight, it helps me a lot.
MMAWeekly: Do you ever get the urge to shoot in for a takedown when you’re boxing?
Joachim Hansen: [Laughs] Yeah, all the time, every time I get hit hard in boxing. In a fight I want to clinch, but you can’t do that in boxing, so I have to think a lot in boxing because it’s so different.
MMAWeekly: Earlier you mentioned that you’d want your next PRIDE fight to be against Gomi. Recently at the last Bushido he reportedly said he wanted to fight Gilbert Melendez next. Would you be willing to fight someone else other than Takanori if need be?
Joachim Hansen: Of course if I don’t get Gomi, there are a lot of other great fighters. Gilbert, [Mitsuhiro] Ishida, Kawajiri, Sakurai, a lot of good fighters, but I hope to fight Gomi.
MMAWeekly: Okay let’s talk hypothetically for a moment. When your contract is up do you want to resign with PRIDE or would you want to go out and test the free agent market?
Joachim Hansen: I really want to stay in PRIDE. I know the rules; I like the atmosphere, so I really want to stay in PRIDE after the last fight in my contract. I really want to stay in PRIDE, I do.
MMAWeekly: As you said earlier, that’s for your manager and PRIDE to work out, you just want to fight, right?
Joachim Hansen: I want to fight, and when the time comes for me to stop fighting I want to stay in the sport. I’m starting my own gym now [Woden Gym] and I want to do this kind of stuff as long as I can. Even if I’m through with the fighting I don’t want to go back to driving a car delivering toilet paper. I want to do what I like and put food on the table.
MMAWeekly: Food on the table and women in the bed right? [This question refers to a comment Hansen had made in an earlier MMAWeekly interview where he said, “I spend more time between the legs of men [in training] than I do women.”]
Joachim Hansen: [Laughs] That’s right.
MMAWeekly: I know you’re a big music fan, so maybe when you’re done fighting you can grow your hair out long and become a musician?
Joachim Hansen: [Laughs] It takes a long time, [I had long hair] from when I was 12 until I was 17 and I remember it takes a long time to grow long hair. You need short hair for training, but sometimes I miss my long hair, it makes you kind of feel like you are a warrior from the olden age. So it’s long hair or no hair for me [laughs].
MMAWeekly: Good stuff Joachim, is there anything you want to say to the fans as we head out?
Joachim Hansen: I heard that PRIDE is coming to the States and that’s cool that PRIDE is spreading around the world. I hope the American people are going to enjoy it. I hope to be in the ring very soon, it’s always great to fight in PRIDE and I hope everything is going to work out for me and everybody else.
MMAWeekly: Who knows, maybe PRIDE will send you over to the US to make an appearance at October’s show?
Joachim Hansen: [Laughs] Yeah, that would be really cool if they did that.