Ryo Chonan talks about submitting Anderson Silva, rematching Hayato Sakurai and more


Ryo Chonan is a mixed martial arts (MMA) legend who has been on the scene since 2001 and faced the likes of Phil Baroni, Carlos Newton, Ricardo Almeida and Dan Henderson. His main claim to fame is his 2004 victory over Anderson Silva, which came courtesy of a spectacular flying scissor heel hook in the third round.

He was an eight-fight stalwart of Pride FC, the now defunct Japanese promotion, and has also competed numerous times on DEEP cards, as well as having a brief spell in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He is currently at Evolve MMA in Singapore preparing to face fellow veteran Hayuto Sakurai.

Every single one of his fights in the UFC went the full three rounds, demonstrating that Chonan was more than capable of competing in that organizations, and his final loss was only by way of split decision.

At the age of 35 he is still younger than Anderson Silva and believes he has plenty more to offer as a mixed martial artist. He took time out from his training at Evolve MMA to talk about how even after over a decade of fighting he still has that hunger to compete.

Check it out:

Were you surprised by how successful Anderson Silva went on to become after losing to you?

Anderson Silva is a very talented fighter. I am not surprised by his success. I wish him the best for his future.

Flying scissor heel hooks are very rare in MMA. Was this something you practised or planned or was it totally spontaneous?

I practice different techniques every day. The one I used on Anderson was just good timing.

Why did you decide to train for your next fight at Evolve MMA?

One of my training partners, Shinya Aoki, told me that it was the best training that he has ever had in his life. So I wanted to see for myself.


What do you think of the training at facilities at Evolve MMA? How does it compare to Japan?

Evolve is bigger and better than its reputation and the instructors here are the best. Japan does not have anything like Evolve, it is a mega concept.

You defeated Hayato Sakurai eight years ago, do you think the rematch will be anything like the first fight?

After our first fight, we became very good friends. We are quite close. He is a great fighter and a wonderful human being.

DREAM's New Year's Eve shows are always big, are you happy to be fighting on such a high profile event?

Yes I am happy to fight on NYE. I hope that I can fight on the ONE FC / DREAM event in Singapore in March too.

Is it true that you are considering a drop down to 155 lbs?

Maybe, it's possible but I have to see how my body feels. I have a hard training camp right now at Evolve and I lost a lot of weight already.

You lost your final fight in the UFC by split decision. Did you feel like you won that fight and how different do you think your career would have been if the judges had given you the decision?

It is better to finish fights. If I finish a fight, then I don't need to worry about judges.

Who has been the hardest opponent you have ever faced?

Everyone is tough. I don't pick my opponents, but I have respect for everyone.

If you could rematch any of your opponents who would it be?

I don't mind to erase my losses but I will fight anyone.

Dream recently signed a partnership with One FC. Would a rematch with Phil Baroni interest you?

Okay, sure. Why not?

One FC and Dream are co promoting a show in Singapore in March. Having spent time training in Singapore would you like to fight there as well?

Yes I would like to fight in Singapore. I would like to have my camp again at Evolve MMA. It is really incredible training here.

You have been fighting for over a decade have you thought about when you might retire?

I am a much better fighter than I was ten years ago and I have more experience too, I am getting better every day. I love MMA and fighting and I don’t want to stop.

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