It seems like it was decades ago. Nowhere near it, nor did the era of the GPs, the MMA tournaments that were one of Pride FC’s greatest triumphs, didn’t last very long at all at all.
In 2006, for example, the greatest on the planet duked it out in Japan for the Open Weight GP belt. The champion of champions at the time, Fedor Emelianenko wasn’t in it, but the dispute was hotter than hot. The winners would remain alive in the dispute. In the finals, with two fights on the same day, Cro Cop came through in devastating fashion.
Check out who was there, in this summary of the highlights leading up to the final.