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Conducted Friday, August 11, 2006 - By MaxFighting.

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MaxFighting: Josh Barnett has displayed interest to fight you?. Is this fight official for 9/10 Pride GP Openweight, and what’s your take on this fight?

Rodrigo Nogueira: If Barnett wants Minotauro, he'll have Minotauro. He knows this is not an easy fight for him; and the semi-finals are booked as is for a reason. Wanderlei Silva against Mirko "CroCop" Filipovic is a kind of re-match, and my fight versus Barnett is a match all fans want to see. Barnett wants to show that he's ready for everything, so he wanted to face a fighter with a huge name in Pride. He wants to beat one of the Pride stars, but it won’t be me.

MaxFighting: This fight against Barnett has been anticipated since 2002, when he challenged you after your war against Bob Sapp. But personally, do you have a strong desire to fighting?

Rodrigo Nogueira: I was ready to fight the other two competitors too (Silva and Cro Cop). All of them are high-level fighters and we need to stay ready. Sincerely I think Barnett is a big mouth, he likes to market himself before his fights, but in a few occasions his comments have looked silly.

MaxFighting: Yes, he talked a lot before his two losses to Cro Cop. However he grew a lot in his last fights. What did you think about his last fights?

Rodrigo Nogueira: I think his game isn't a good game for a guy as like Cro Cop, even though Mirko isn't a ground specialist, he dominated Barnett on the ground. I think Barnett was a little fat in his first Pride fights and in the recent ones he has been in good shape.

Maxfighting: What did you think about Barnett’s fight versus Mark Hunt?

Rodrigo Nogueira: I think what happened was what I expected. Hunt is a tough fighter, he's a PrideFC star, but he still doesn't have experience on the ground.

MaxFighting: Can you study that fight to establish your game plan against Barnett?

Rodrigo Nogueira: Barnett is a fighter who competed in ADCC and his experience in MMA is larger than Hunt's one. We always can collect a piece of a fight to study, but that fight wouldn't help me much. As much as my fight against Fabricio Werdum would be to Barnett.

MaxFighting: Why so?

Rodrigo Nogueira: I had a tough match against Werdum, and I think Barnett imagines he's better than Werdum. But I faced a top BJJ black-belt in my last fight- I'm sure that fight will give him the wrong impression.

MaxFighting: Do you think you could've finished Werdum?

Rodrigo Nogueira: I sunk a good guillotine-choke in the half-guard, and I believed he had real problems freeing himself. The people who watched that fight can think that was a weak submission attempt, but I finish a lot of teammates on the academy with that guillotine. That submission was tight and he escaped. Well, the important fact was that we fought tough and we proved that BJJ black-belts can fight standing too.

MaxFighting: You were a bit heavier in your fight against Werdum. Was it your intention to stay heavier?

Rodrigo Nogueira: My Boxing coach, Luiz Doria, had a plan for me and it was to make my punches heavier? The plan was to gain weight and train hard. Werdum stated I punched harder than Filipovic. So imagine hearing this from the mouth of a guy who trains with a striker of Filipovic's caliber.

MaxFighting: Pride has had its named involved in a few scandals in the last months. What are your thoughts?

Rodrigo Nogueira: I don’t believe them and if Fuji broke relationship with Pride, I think that the problem is with Fuji TV now. I think Pride has a huge name and the Pride staff can find another TV deal. Here in Brazil, Pride is a huge success; people aren’t fans of MMA watch Pride. This is a popular show and it’s not going anywhere?

MaxFighting: What are you thoughts on PrideFC in the USA?

Rodrigo Nogueira: They will be a huge success there and I expect to compete in the USA in 2007. The US fans will have the opportunity to watch the best show in the world.

MaxFighting: Your goals now now are Barnett and then the OpenWeigt GP belt, but is defeating Emelianenko Fedor your ultimategoal?

Rodrigo Nogueira: My main target is the belt, and if the champion of this GP has the chance of facing Fedor- I'll fight him. I'm focused on this tourney, and Fedor isn’t in it. I promise my fans that I'm ready for this GP and if the fight against Fedor happens, I’ll be happy.

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Everyone's thoughts on the above?
 
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