James Thompson interview


This is PRIDE's exclusive interview with the "Colossus" James Thompson. Coming off of 3 straight TKO wins, he will face Kazuyushi Fujita on May 5th with the hopes of being crowned the world's absolute fighter.

PRIDE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIPS: How long have you been fighting and how have you grown since you first began your career?

James Thompson: I've been fighting in mixed martial arts for about 3 years now. I've grown a lot. When I was small I fought they told me I wasn't ready. Two weeks notice and never fought or done anything. Just big guy with lot of power,. After I won my first fight I realized that I enjoyed fighting and now I am always learning and trying to get better.

PRIDE: Tell me about your jobs before becoming a MMA fighter?

JT: I did debt collecting and was a gypsy mover before that moving gypsies. We have to move gypsies off of people's areas and tell them to leave. It was quite an odd job and door security. A little bit of pro wresting in the UK, kind of enjoyed it but there wasn't much satisfaction even though I won matches. It didn't feel like I accomplished anything

PRIDE: How are you as a student in MMA since you are new?

JT: I've been to a lot of gyms and seen a lots of different people train and I can see people who learn moves and pick up styles rather quickly. I'm not naturally gifted like that. But I will listen a lot and try to learn and ask questions and ask to go over stuff I don't understand. Im not shy like that that's why I am a good student. I never think I'm 100 percent right all the time. I'm not shy like that and always want to understand that's why I always look at it from different situations and try to keep a very open mind whether I'm the teacher or student because MMA is always evolving. I'm a big guy who is very strong so I have to use that to my advantage. I'm not quick or subtle, but I have to work at those things. I am getting quicker and subtler. I'm learning how to use my strengths to my advantage. If I can fight a fight the way I want to fight it, and use my style then no one can beat me.

PRIDE: What's your fighting style?

JT: I like wrestling and takedowns mixed with ground and pound. I am always learning techniques to tie up arms and legs as well as technical ground and pound manuevers. I especially like Mark Kerr's fighting style, he has awesome ground and pound and uses the things he is naturally gifted in.

PRIDE: I heard you were involved in an unfortunate car accident in the UK a couple months ago. What happened? And has it affected you in anyway?

JT: We were on way to a press conference with my manager Charlie, Jeff Monson and his girlfriend. A car stolen by a 15 year old kid was gong at 100 mph in the oncoming lane and hit us head on. We tried to swerve out of the way, but were hit anyways. I got injured and cut the top of my head and suffered from leg and head pains. After a couple weeks, I didn't feel too bad and went back training and injured myself even more. But I am just fine now.

PRIDE: How poplar is MMA in Europe?

JT: England is a country that likes fighting and boxing competition. Everyday it gets more and more popular, for example in Holland and Prague, kickboxing as well as MMA is pretty big. The other day I was just watching boxing with my friends and I have to agree that it wasn't as intereing..theres no take downs, slams, knees, chokes, or ground and pound. Everything has advanced so much since the classic days of the UFC since Royce Gracie first arm bared somebody. It just seems to growing.

PRIDE: Where did the name Mega Punk come from?

JT: Japanese fans gave that name to me. Mega" means big ,and "Punk" is because of punk rock which comes from the UK. I don't know exactly why that is, but they two are an interesting combination. They call me "Colossus" in UK. Basically, I have two nicknames in different parts of the world.

PRIDE: What ideals does the MEGAPUNK live by? What does he represent?

JT: Treat people the way you want to be treated. I treat everyone with respect and that's what I expect back. I also try to be as friendly and as open-minded as possible and to be myself and get along with everyone. If there's something I don't agree with. I will voice my opinion, and if they don't like it that's fine. I'm not gonna pretend to be something that I'm not because there is just no point in doing that I'm just honest to myself.

PRIDE: What goes through your head before a fight?

JT: I'm definitely very intense. I try not to be too tense and filled with adrenaline because in my earlier fights, its been detrimental to me. I think I have to come in relaxed but at the same time, focused and somewhat intense, so that's what I'm trying to work on now. I've grown more and more confident and relaxed for my fights from preparing at the gym as much as I can.

PRIDE: Has your fighting style always been the hyperdash? And where did it come from?

JT: During my third fight ever, I ran at my opponent and finished him off very quickly, so I kept doing it But the next time, I tried running harder and faster, and it kept on working! I didn't do it against Dan Severn because he's a good wrestler, or Alex Lungu because he's a big guy. The fans really like it and it actually work because no one trains for someone that big running at you. I'm gonna keep changing it up a little bit. People think because I do that its because I'm unskilled, but its not all I've got. I don't just go to the gym and practice running at walls!

PRIDE: What do you think of Fujita as a fighter? He hasn't fought since 2004, but he is dangerous as he has been the only one who has come close to knocking out Fedor.

JT: I have always watched Fujita for a long time even before I began MMA and seen him fight against a big wrestler like Mark Kerr. He kept going forward and forward and wouldn't give up. For a big guy, he's got excellent cardio and I really do respect him and appreciate the chance to get to test myself against at him. In order for me to improve my skills, I have to go up against better fighters. I think it's the perfect fight for me.

PRIDE: How are you training for this upcoming fight?

JT: I have worked on my sprawl and technical ground and pound and plan to and take it to him. I've been working on a lot of cardio I want to have a lot it he gas tank so that I feel prepared and good for the fight.

PRIDE: Are you still training with Team Quest in the U.S.?

JT: I've trained with Team Quest once, and they were really good. Now I'm training with Jeff Monson and other guys there at American Top Team in Florida.

PRIDE: If you advance to the next round of the tournament who would you look forward to crushing next?

JT: I'd like to fight Mark Hunt. He is a very good striker, but I think I could beat him on the ground.

PRIDE: Anything you'd like to say to your fans?

JT: Thanks for support guys! I go out there and try to make the fight entertaining and hopefully the fans will enjoy it. I appreciate the chance and opportunity to compete in this tournament and for fans putting their faith in me. I hope to do my best and hope to show my fans what this Colossus is really made of!