Before the longtime PRIDE veteran makes his DREAM debut, MMA Fighting caught up with Chonan to talk about his experience in the UFC and bringing his career back to Japan.
Ray Hui: How does it feel to be part of the DREAM roster?
Ryo Chonan: I don't care. Dream? UFC? Deep? Pride? The genre is the same. MMA.
What are your thoughts on Nakahara and how are you preparing for a fighter with a karate background?
I don't care. It's MMA, not karate. However, he is strong. I will fight and train hard and come up with a good strategy.
How do you look back on your four fights with the UFC?
I learned the difficulty of fighting away (from home). However, I'm still growing up. It is not over. I fought and was happy.
Now that you're fighting in Japan again, do you still make trips out to train in the US?
I like Team Quest and I have many American friends. I miss everybody. I cry every night.
You said before that the US has the best training, do you think a fighter can fight at his best only training in Japan?
A Japanese physical trainer and the trainer of the kickboxing are very excellent. But American MMA training is better than Japan. I train the techniques that I learned in the US repeatedly in Japan.
Do you intend to fight for the UFC again?
Of course. I respect UFC fighters. I want revenge.
Dana White has said it's incredibly difficult for an American business to run a show in Japan. Do you think at some point the UFC will be able to organize an event in Japan?
Japanese MMA is in a troubled time. I think that it is difficult for them to profit in Japan.
Some fighters acknowledge the differences in fighting in a cage and inside a ring and some don't. What do you think of fighting in a ring again for DEEP and DREAM?
There are differences in a cage and the ring, but having elbows is a big difference, too. I think that I must adapt in any kind of environment.
Now that Strikeforce and DREAM are partners, are you interested in returning to the US to fight in Strikeforce?
If American fans want it, I will fight soon.