Hellboy Unleashed: An Interview with Joachim Hansen
Despite never competing on the big stages North America has to offer, Joachim "Hellboy" Hansen has been a perennial top 10 lightweight for nearly a decade. At 28 fights into his storied career, Hansen made the move to the weight class that is quickly becoming the sport's most exciting: featherweight.
Bleacher Report caught up with Hansen recently to get his thoughts on fighting, Japan and much more.
You've spent much of your career fighting in Japan. What did it mean to you to fight on the Fight for Japan card in May?
It was special feeling to be fighting this time in Japan. I was very happy to be invited to be on the card but at the same time it was a feeling of grief for those families who lost their loved ones in the catastrophe.
When you began fighting in Japan, did you have trouble adjusting to the culture and food?
Japanese culture and food no problem, the food over there actually tastes of something.
They honour their traditional food, no Soylent Green for Hansen in Japan.
Many fighters have complained about biased judging in Japan. Have you ever felt cheated by judges?
Not really. When I lost to Mitsuoka in Shooto, I didn’t agree with the judges but when I started to think about the fight, I felt that the outcome was right.
I had the superior positions but he was closer to finishing the fight on a guillotine choke he had on me in the second round, I was almost unconscious when I got free.
What is it about Japan that keeps you coming back?
I liked Japan since the first time I sat foot there eight years ago. I made friends there and I like their culture.
You're coming off a victory over Mitsuhiro Ishida at DREAM Fight for Japan. What were your thoughts on your performance?
I’m happy with my performance, I knew his game from studying his pre fights with Caol Uno, Wicky, and Suzuki. Take down to top control and usually winning on decisions has been his bread and butter in his career. I felt I was threatening him from my back with sub attempts and strikes, and I felt fine when they gave me the split decision victory.
With three straight victories, do you think you're close to another title shot in DREAM?
Not yet, maybe if I can win two more fights.
How would you compare your experience in PRIDE with your experience in DREAM?
It feels the same.
If you could avenge one loss, which one would it be?
How much longer do you plan on fighting for?
I don’t know, I take one fight at the time now. I passed 30 years two years ago, but 10 more years would be cool if I can be successful and not get injuries.
What are your plans after fighting?
I’m going to be an MMA trainer.
In 2009/2010 you suffered three straight losses for the first time in your career. What do you attribute this streak to?
It was devastating but necessary, a coin has two sides, the shiny side and the dark side
with that face on, hollow eyes staring in to your soul, awaiting to take it when you break.
How did you bounce back from these losses?
With my hatred for this world and the two legged plague that feasts upon it.
How do you mentally prepare for a fight?
I think about the Vikings and others who came before me and my grandfather who was at war in the sea, constantly every second for five years, and I feel strong when going to the fight.
What influenced your decision to become a mixed martial artist?
Ever since I saw a half drunk Roger Moore beating up bastards in the James Bond movies back in 1984 and Renzo Gracie, Mark Kerr, Jorge "macaco", Johil di Oliveria, Jose "Pele" Landi back in the days.
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