Undoubtedly, one of the legends of Pride and MMA in general, devastating ukrainian striker Igor Vovchanchyn retired from sport in 2005 after having amassed incredible professional record of 47 wins to 9 losses. In this exsclusive interview to contributing editor of www.m-1global.com Michael Mazur Igor answered multiple questions from his fans from the mixedmartialarts.com forum.
Michael Mazur: What is the story of you coming to Pride?
Igor Vovchanchyn: Nothing special. After I had won the “Diamond night” in Kiev, Ukraine I got the invitation.
Michael Mazur: What is the most essential martial art in MMA, according to you?
Igor Vovchanchyn: It’s got to be boxing, although wrestling plays significant role, too. You’ve got to be as well-rounded as possible. Whatever you are able to do, be it side-jumping, you’ve got to be able to apply it successfully.
Michael Mazur: What was your favorite fight in Pride, if any?
Igor Vovchanchyn: I don’t like the fights where I came, saw and conquered my opponent by knockout leaving him no chances. Actually the fights I like more are those where my adversary fights back. I like to rumble, to feel my opponent, just like that old dog figt.
Michael Mazur: Would Kazushi Sakuraba be victorious against you back in 2000, had he not not been exhausted after that 1,5 Igor Vovchanchyn: hour battle with Royce Gracie?
I don’t think so. He had no chances, no.
Michael Mazur: Is that true that the inhabitants of the village you had lived in, used to clang a bell once Igor got angry.
Igor Vovchanchyn: (Laughs) No, this is just a joke. There was a bell though.
Michael Mazur: How does your breakfast look like?
Igor Vovchanchyn: Well, it may consist of cottage cheese with honey, pancakes, sandwiches.
Michael Mazur: What advice would you give to an up-and-coming athlete? How does you training regimen look like as of now?
Igor Vovchanchyn: The main thing is to stick to healthy way of living. As for me, it’s almost safe to say there is no constant regimen. Of course, I always do morning excersices.
Michael Mazur: Do you follow today’s MMA or other sports?
Igor Vovchanchyn: Yeah, I watch boxing especially lightweights.
Michael Mazur: Rumor says you retired because of multiple injuries. Could you elaborate on that please?
Igor Vovchanchyn: My right hand is injured and this injury is pretty bad. I need to undergo an operation since I can’t bend it normally.
Michael Mazur: Lots of fans ask themselves whether the Pride 34 poster depicting you against Wanderlei Silva was true?
Igor Vovchanchyn: No, I’ve never heard of the possibility of us fighting each other.
Michael Mazur: What victory was the most valueable for you personally?
Igor Vovchanchyn: I guess it was my first Kiev tournament “Diamond night” I mentioned previously. To tell you the truth even I was pretty shocked by that event. Further on, both fights against Mark Kerr who was an animal and in his prime back then – these were some of the more memorable wars for me.
Michael Mazur: Do you plan to come to the USA to meet your fans over there?
Igor Vovchanchyn: Well, If I were invited I’d definitely like to come.
Michael Mazur: Is it possible to purchase a poster with your autograph on it anywhere?
Igor Vovchanchyn: We don’t distribute posters or cards anymore, we used to…
Michael Mazur: Did you fight bare-knuckle or with gloves on under Unified Rueles? Is there any chance of you coming back to the ring or are the injuries so severe?
Igor Vovchanchyn: Undoubtedly it’s better to operate bare-knuckle as it lets you achieve the desirable result much faster. The injury is too serious. I don’t think I’ll return to active fighting again. The most important after the operation will be rehabbing period but I’ll keep training myself and my students, that’s for sure.
Michael Mazur: How is your restaurant business doing? Any intentions to expand? Do you still bake those cookies?
Igor Vovchanchyn: Of course i do. Catering is very profitable and always in demand.
Michael Mazur: Imagine you are about to fight Fedor. How would that process go?
Igor Vovchanchyn: It’s hard to say…you always have to be prepared. It all depends on who was better prepared and to what degree. Your moral abilities play a significant role as well.
Michael Mazur: Who’s the most exciting fighter to watch?
Igor Vovchanchyn: I always admired Sakuraba, he was unique.
Michael Mazur: Who was your most difficult opponent?
Igor Vovchanchyn: Regarding the bouts I won – the hardest one was, no, were both fights against Mark Kerr. Concering the bouts I lost – it’s got to be Mark Coleman. I believe lack of preparation played its role. Watching the tape afterwrds, you know, I spot lots of my own mistakes. Preparing for the upcoming fight and implementing all the things you had up your sleeve doesn’t work as planned. Also the Heath Herring fight – it was pretty close.
Michael Mazur: Do you agree with the statement that Fedor copied your style of punching? What potential fights have never taken place and why?
Igor Vovchanchyn: That’s true but only to some extent. More people were trying to imitate it, including japanese. They called it “Igor Vovchanchyn” punching. I can remember myself entering a gym there and seeing everyone practicing my style of punching. As for past potential fights – every single potential fight did take place.
Michael Mazur: Do you still ride a motorcycle?
Igor Vovchanchyn: Not, not anymore.
Michael Mazur: Do people recognize you in your homecountry?
Igor Vovchanchyn: Well, I hope they do.
Michael Mazur: Do you realize how many fans worldwide you have?
Igor Vovchanchyn: I guess there are quite some of them.
Michael Mazur: Did Pride treat you well like paying enough, accomodation and stuff?
Igor Vovchanchyn: I have no complaints, it was great. I don’t think there ever will be another organization like that.
Michael Mazur: Could you compete against the world’s elite heavyweights today, assuming you are 100% injury-free?
Igor Vovchanchyn: I think I could. No injuries and decent shape…why not.
Michael Mazur: We have never seen you spar with other top fighters back in the days? Why is that?
Igor Vovchanchyn: Why would I like to copy their stile? I think one has to play hiw own game if you know what I mean.