March 18, 2022
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Q. Yianni, I'm pretty sure you've been in this room one or two times in the past. What's it mean going after your third title here?
YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: It's a great honor. I'm really thankful to -- whether I was good or bad, I found myself here, so time to wrestle really hard. One match tomorrow is everything I have for seven minutes, and then just I got to live with what I have. I'm really thankful to be here.
Q. Speaking of being thankful, you missed out on the season last year. What was that journey like to get to this point again?
YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: It was incredibly frustrating. I got a lot of good competition and good training in with my freestyle stuff, but just it was hard. It was hard watching the tournament. I felt horrible for our seniors that lost their last chance. So as unfortunate as it was for me, I still am going to have four chances, but that's not true for everybody, so my heart goes out to those guys.
Q. Yianni, a lot of college fans haven't really seen you since 2019 until now. How different are you as a wrestler and as a person?
YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: I've added a lot to my game. I've kind of changed my mentality, the way I view it. The biggest thing I think I matured a lot; and as far as I've came, I still have a really long way to go.
Q. You said you changed your mentality. What did you mean by that?
YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: More relaxed. Trying my best to enjoy these chances. I don't have a lot -- I only have one match tomorrow. And then next year is my last go at it, so I am trying to enjoy this process as much as I can and kind of transition from being a young guy to a leader on the team as well.
Q. Yianni, you got Ridge Lovett tomorrow. You had him in the finals of the Vegas tournament. Went into overtime. What do you think of seeing him tomorrow?
YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: He is tough. He is going to be wrestle me hard, and I'm fully confident in myself and my abilities, so if I wrestle the way I can, whatever happens happens.
Q. Does his style give you any worry for concern, or --
YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: No. I mean, he is good on top. He is a prototypical folkstyle guy, right? Obviously, there will be some stylistic differences compared to other guys, but like I said, it's nothing I haven't felt before, nothing I haven't experienced before, so I'm just going to go out there and wrestle as hard as I can, wrestle as well as I can. And like I said, whatever happens happens. I got to live with what I do.
Q. Just wanted to ask you, how much do you study your opponent's wrestling? Especially for a big title like this.
YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: I'll watch. I'll watch the semifinal match. It's a little different because we've wrestled before. I'm familiar with what he does. I kind of have an idea of what that match can look like depending on a couple of factors, so I won't do a ton of game planning. I'll just focus on feeling good and wrestling hard.
Q. You had said he is a folkstyle guy. Are you more of a freestyle guy?
YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: Definitely. I like wrestling on my feet. I like putting guys on their back, exposing them, and getting those exposures. I like to get points there. That being said, that's future and past. The present Yianni has one match tomorrow, and that's what he has to focus on.
Q. Does the folkstyle frustrate you at all?
YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: I don't think frustrate is the right word, but I enjoy freestyle. It's my passion, but folkstyle stuff, I mean, it's fun. It's enjoyable. I don't get to wrestle in venues like this very often, so there are things that I can enjoy from both.
Q. How is the energy out there?
YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: It's electric. You can feel the fans. You can feel the pressure. You can cut through it with a knife, right, so it's really exciting being out there.
Q. I know you and Vito are really close. Obviously, you trained together and you traveled together internationally and do things. Was it hard for you to see him not make the finals tomorrow night and then have to go out and perform?
YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: Yeah. I mean, I try really hard to not be emotionally invested in my teammates when I'm wrestling, but that was really hard. Vito is like a brother to me. He is my best friend, so that sucks for him, but have more years, have more chances, and can't let one match define who you are.
Q. You have a full body of work at 149. Is there a difference in feeling between 141 and 149?
YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: The guys are eight pounds heavier. Same guys, right? We all made weight today. We're all going to make weight tomorrow. Big, small, tall, short, skinny, fat, we weigh the same, and we're going to wrestle that day, so you can't ask for much more.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports