DREAM official website posted an interview with Yoshihiro Aikiyama on July 13. This interview was taken place on July 10.
- Your opponent was finally announced. What do you think?
I feel a kind of relieved. I got a clear short term goal; thus, I'm pumped up for the fight.
- What do you think about your opponent?
He hasn't been in MMA long. That's his strength as well as his weakness. I cannot fully analyze what he does.
- What do you think about fighting a pro wrestler?
Nothing. I flatter myself that I represent Judo. If he is proud of himself as a pro wrestler like I am as a Judo specialist, I respect that.
- What did you think when you got an offer ?
When I attendedd to an MMA event in Akasaka, I knew Shibata was interested in fighting me. I was surprised, for I expected to fight a foreign fighter. I was fine to fight him because I wanted to fight Japanese fighters.
- Why do you want to fight Japanese?
I fight anybody, yet Japanese fighter was ideal. I wanted to improve myself by fighting them this year, and then I wanted to move on fighting foreign fighters.
- Shibata loses 4 times in row. He admitted that he wasn't in the position to choose his opponent. What do you think?
That's true; however, nobody wanted to fight me at that moment. That's why it took long time to find my opponent. I didn't have much time left before my fight. Under the circumstances, I accepted his offer without any hesitation.
- How's your nose and knee?
Both parts have been cured totally. I train very hard as I did before injured.
- Where do you train at now?
I train at Keisyukai and Bungelingbay.
- Bungelingbay is a kickboxing gym owned by Akeomi Nitta, a former K-1 fighter. What are you learning in his gym?
I learn basics from the bottom up, such as kicking and punching techniques and how to slide my weights. I learn to get well-balanced combinations of all my techniques. The lower half of the body is also strengthen by kicking.
- Can you show us what you learn in the next fight?
I will definitely kick and throw punches equally if I keep myself in control. I used to rely on punching too much. I didn't slide my weight smoothly, so I couldn't kick effectively. I'm improving my weak points now. It's not easy to get everything; admittedly, I believe my offense will change by paying attention to my weakness.
- You haven't fought since Yarennnoka. Are you nervous?
- What do you think about DREAM?
I watched past 4 events and I gave a cheer to HERO'S fighters.
Because I'm from HERO'S. It's too bad to see Nagata's loss.
- You said you wanted to fight in all event in the rest of this year.
Yes. I couldn't fight in a half of this year. My MMA career is not that long, and so I want to fight as much as I can.
- Do you think about when you retire?
I think all fighters thought about the age of retiring. I don't know when I retire, but I'm sure I cannot keep fighting in my 40's. Although, I have a desire to fight in my 40's actually. When I was 18 or 19 years old, I felt people in my current age were quite old. Now I'm 33 years old and doing fine as a professional fighter. I may keep fighting depend of my mental condition.
- Randy Couture is 45 years old this year.
He is very impressive. I heard about a 41 years old swimmer who participated in Beijin Olympic.
- Are you talking about Dara Torres?
Yes. It was excited to hear about the news. I was so motivated to fight as long as I can.
- Tell me your goal in DREAM.
Though I aim a belt in my long-term goal, I'm not stress about anything in this fight. This is my first fight in DREAM. I will see if I can find my next goal in this event. I cannot lose this fight since I fight in my home town, Osaka.