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News, notes and quotes: DREAM 11 post-fight extra

DREAM 11 from the Yokohama Arena in Kanagawa, Japan, is officially in the books. You can catch a replay of all the action this Friday (Oct. 10) at 10 PM ET on HDNet.

The event wrapped up its Featherweight Grand Prix, which featured the rise of Brazilian submission specialist Bibiano Fernandes, who knocked off Joe Warren and Hiroyuki Takaya to claim the GP championship.

Also featured was a lightweight title match between Joachim Hansen and Shinya Aoki. "Hellboy" was his usual venerable self until a slick armbar from "The Tobikan Judan" sent him packing and down two fights to one in their trilogy.

As if those weren’t enough, the semifinal bouts of the Super Hulk Tournament and the return of Kazushi Sakuraba were thrown in as a bonus.

Following the event, many of the fighters made their case for the media at the DREAM 11 post-fight press conference. Check out some of the news, notes and quotes from DREAM 11 below.

Joe Warren, on his controversial submission loss to Bibiano Fernandes:

"Looking at the way the fight was going, I think the stoppage was unwarranted. Also, I am disappointed in myself and thinking about never letting such a thing happen to me again. On my next outing, I would like to return at 120% with my conditioning in order. On another note, I did not think I was in an adverse circumstance when the referee stopped the fight, so having the fight stopped in that fashion caught me off guard. (Had the fight not been stopped) I planned to put more pressure on him since I trained in jiu jitsu this time, but unfortunately I drove myself into that circumstance. I have not been on a losing end of the match on too many occasions, so I experienced some new emotion this time; however, it wasn't too enjoyable. It would be wonderful if I can obtain the belt. I love the Japanese fans, so I would like to train hard and make sure that I will not let anything like (what happened in this fight) happen again. If I had several more minutes I think I would have been able to defeat my opponent. I will definitely be back, so please look forward to my return."

More post-fight reactions from Kazushi Sakuraba, Joachim Hansen and more after the jump.

Minowaman, on his win over Hong Man Choi:

"I think Hong Man Choi had studied me very well; I tried to stay a few steps ahead but was thwarted most of the time and couldn't lure him into my range. (With regard to his catching Choi's legs in the second round) I think that my instinct served me well, instead of my planning it beforehand. I learned a lot from training with Hakuhoushou (a famous Mongolian sumo wrestler) but above all I managed to beat out the fear that stems from my opponent's looking down upon me due to height difference. Also, he has offered me an invaluable piece of advice that there are movements that suit large fighters, as well as those that suit small fighters. Instead of trying to become a physically imposing fighter, I was able to fight in accordance with my size. Now that I am fighting Sokoudjou in the final, I want to fight with the mindset that Sokoudjou will represent UFC while I represent DREAM. Though the fight with Sokoudjou will have more MMA flair, I will still fight with the pro-wrestler mentality."

Tatsuya Kawajiri, on his win over Melchor Manibusan:

"Stepping into the ring, I was more worried about dispelling my mental roadblocks, like 'I absolutely cannot stumble here,' rather than who my opponent was, since it has only been three months since July (referring to his K-1 bout against Masato). Despite my apprehension, I was empowered by my belief in what I have been doing and the loud cheer from the crowd. I was able to step into the ring feeling, 'I'm fine,' and fight to my fulfillments. Aoki looked great in the fight -- after all, he is able to rise to the occasion when called upon, so I would like to tell him, 'congratulations.' (With regard to Aoki's evasive comment about facing him for title defense) Aoki is pretty loquacious and there is no point in sparring him verbally, so I plan to beat him down in the ring."

Kazushi Sakuraba, on his win over Ruben Williams:

"How long did the fight last? I guess it was about three minutes (2:53). I felt like I had fought for six or seven minutes. My opponent changed his stance subtly after being hit with the first leg kick, so I felt 'this guy is aiming for (a knockout)' and the fight felt long. I knew that I would lose if I tried to throw punches at him. Besides, he is quite tall and has a long reach, so I just threw leg kicks, thinking that they would land, even with my short legs. I think the DREAM staff does a great job with event production, and the opening, the crowd, and the fighters all help create a really vibrant atmosphere so DREAM is awesome. Even though people remind me that I am 40 years old, I am not too concerned about my age. I have sensed a bit of physical change, like that my body is less resilient after a workout, but I have become more positively shrewd, mentally, so turning 40 has not been a big deal. I have said that I hope to fight until 100, but that is obviously impossible and even continuing until I become eligible for social security is very tough. As for my goal -- a diminutive aikido master throwing around huge foreigners with ease -- that is what I aspire for. I do not know whether I will fight later this month at DREAM 12 – I will decide tomorrow (Note: He said this right after his fight, and since he was absent during the press conference on Oct. 7, no official statement has come from him regarding the participation). I do not have any specific goal: I am not interested in a belt and do not have any specific opponent in mind, either. Rather than taking an initiative on my own, I prefer that DREAM gives me an assignment."

Joachim Hansen, on his loss to Shinya Aoki:

"I am very disappointed that I lost. Though I feel that the fight could have panned out differently, Aoki was an amazing fighter and grappler. Since I had prepared myself diligently for the fight, I do not want to make any excuse. I felt that Aoki has gotten stronger since the last fight, and he felt heavier as well. I would love to fight him for the fourth time if I receive such offer. It is difficult to predict who would win between Aoki and (Tatsuya) Kawajiri, since they are completely different types of fighter."

Shinya Aoki, on his win over Joachim Hansen:

"In the end, my body just moved intuitively out of mushin (no-mindedness, or a mental state free of discursive emotion or thought that highly trained martial artists are said to enter during combat). (With regard to Kawajiri's appeal for title shot) I do not really know what to make of it at the moment, but I will give it a thought. Honestly, I want to take a long break and rest. I do not want to announce my intent to fight on New Year's Eve, because I have been fighting at a rigorous pace and went into this fight as my last one for a while. I just want to rest. (About becoming the first Japanese champion in DREAM) With this title, my accomplishment has taken a concrete shape, so I am happy about that. By fighting overseas and defeating top level fighters in UFC like BJ Penn, Kenny Florian, and Gray Maynard, I want to prove that I am the best in Japan and Japanese fighters are indeed great. Someone told me that I am the number one fighter in the world, but I do not concur. I feel that if I were the number one in the world as the fighter I am now, I would have quit fighting already -- like, I do not fight in MMA on such a minute scale. If I can fight BJ Penn, I can die happily."

Hiroyuki Takaya, on his loss to Bibiano Fernandes:

"I feel that I have fought well and I can't do anything about the decision. It would be uncool to make any bones about it, so I won't say anything."

Bibiano Fernandes, on winning the Grand Prix:

"I fought such an intense war last night. I didn't really have any plan going into either of the fight -- I just fought to become a champion. Takaya is an amazing stand-up fighter, so by going toe to toe with him, I have proven that I have grown as a fighter. I want to continue striving to become a complete fighter. (In response to Aoki's comment that jiu jitsu is very strong, since both of them are jiu jitsu-based fighters) Yes, absolutely! You would rather be dead if you are not learned in jiu jitsu as a MMA fighter."

Keiichi Sasahara (DREAM event producer) gives his take on the event:

"Bibiano Fernandes became the Featherweight champion in an impressive fashion. Hiroyuki Takaya and Hideo Tokoro also put up a valiant effort, and Takaya vs. Tokoro and Takaya vs. Fernandes were both close, hard-fought battles. I think that Fernandes edged out the other two to become the champion with the overall completeness of his game. As for title defense, Takaya is the top contender and I hope that the first defense will materialize soon after the New Year. There are many good fighters in the Featherweight division, so I hope that Fernandes will heighten the legitimacy of the DREAM Featherweight belt with multiple title defenses. Shinya Aoki won by submission with only a few seconds left in the fight, and I think he was able to finish because he possessed something other than pure fighting skill. Upon reflection, his victory was reminiscent of Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Renzo Gracie in PRIDE. I want to congratulate him from the bottom of my heart for becoming the champion. He is also the first Japanese champion in DREAM, so it is truly amazing. That said, he can only relax briefly, as Kawajiri has stated his willingness to get back into fighting mode immediately, and a new battle will likely take shape heading toward the New Year's Eve. I have commented about Sakuraba's potential appearance in DREAM 12 later this month in the pre-fight conference: I was only half-serious and he is absent today (in the post-fight press conference), but I would definitely like him to fight in DREAM 12 if he has no injuries."

Additional news and notes:

• Sasahara announced the rating for DREAM 11 during the post-fight press conference. Broadcast on Tokyo Broadcast Station (TBS), DREAM 11 recorded a 12.7% average throughout the night, with the peak of 17.2% during the Minowaman – Choi fight. The average rating was the second highest on the network during the time slot. Though it pales in comparison to DREAM 9 which was aired on prime-time and recorded an average of 16.2% with a high of 19.1% during the "Kid" Yamamoto – Joe Warren bout, Sasahara said that he is relieved by the overall rating given the Monday night time slot.

• DREAM is scheduled to make an official announcement of the "Dynamite!" New Year’s Eve show later this month. Also, it will release additional bouts for the upcoming DREAM 12 which is set to take place on Oct. 25 at Osaka Castle Hall.

For our complete DREAM 11 results and recap click here.

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