Article

Takanori Gomi - Back on Track

"All I can do is to keep fighting the way I used to so that I don’t let people down." - Takanori Gomi
UFC lightweight Takanori GomiAfter 32 professional mixed martial arts wins, the PRIDE lightweight championship, and recognition as one of Japan’s best ever in the sport, it would be understandable if winning fights became a bit of a routine for Takanori Gomi over the years.

The UFC was a tough nut for Gomi to crack though, and with a 1-3 Octagon record entering his UFC 144 bout with countryman Eiji Mitsuoka in February, winning wasn’t just going to be a perk after a long training camp; it was a necessity. Add the fact that he was fighting in his home country for the first time as a member of the UFC roster, and the urgency was even more apparent.

Yet Gomi kept his characteristic cool, even knowing that he might not be at a hundred percent heading into the bout with the veteran Mitsuoka.

“I had an injury prior to the fight that made me a little nervous, but I believe that I had an advantage in the Octagon because it was my opponent's first fight in the UFC,” said Gomi through translator / manager Mizuka Koike.

And whether it was that experience, his still-potent punching power, or the stars all aligning at the right moment for one of Japan’s greatest MMA stars, Gomi got victory number 33, stopping Mitsuoka in the second round in the same Saitama Super Arena where he had defeated the likes Mach Sakurai and Jens Pulver in PRIDE. When it was over, his joy and emotion were evident, and the way he felt, it was simply mission accomplished.

“I felt like I had nothing to lose, and I just wanted to show the audience everything that I have.”

He did, but when asked what the win meant to him, his response isn’t about him, but about his team and his fans.

“I was so happy that I could show my victory to my sparring partners and people who supported me over the years,” said Gomi, who broke a two-fight losing skid. Now there’s an entirely new light on the career of “The Fireball Kid,” and if the 34-year-old from Tokyo can defeat Mac Danzig this Saturday in Macao, it will be his first two-fight winning streak in the UFC, and a firm step in the direction of his ultimate goal, which he says is “To be the champion of UFC.”

Danzig will be a stern test though, as the Californian always shows up ready to fight, and with a desire to break a win-loss-win-loss pattern of his own, the former Ultimate Fighter winner has his own championship ambitions to chase after. Gomi remembers Danzig from his 2007 PRIDE loss to Sakurai, and when asked the difficulties he presents, the Japanese standout points to “his aggressiveness and how he rushes toward his opponent,” as factors to be aware of.

At this point in their careers, Gomi and Danzig would probably be seen as a pick ‘em fight, but Gomi will have a couple advantages, mainly that he is fighting in Asia, a preferable locale for him, and that he finally feels at home in the Octagon after years fighting in the ring.

“I finally felt like I could relax in the Octagon since I fought in Japan,” said Gomi, who is at his most dangerous when he’s loose, comfortable, and letting his hands fly. As for the logistical battles, “I don't have to travel long when I fight in Asia,” he said. “That's a huge difference from fighting in the States. Also, it is easier for me to find food that I like in Asian countries.”

With that out of the way, all that’s left is the fight, and Gomi promises a good one.

“I hope both of us will be in the Octagon in the best condition,” he said. “I’m going to show an aggressive fight and make the audience loud.”

So business as usual then?

“All I can do is to keep fighting the way I used to so that I don’t let people down.”

Watch Past Fights

미디어

최근
7월 11일 라스베이거스에서 펼쳐지는 UFC 189 대회의 메인이벤트, UFC 페더급 타이틀전 조제 알도 vs. 코너 맥그리거 대결의 예고편.
2015. 5. 23
UFC 187: 경기 후 기자회견 비디오
2015. 5. 18
UFC 187 경기 후 기자회견은 한 파이터의 예상치 못한 발언으로 후끈 달아올랐다. 어떤 선수였을까?
2015. 5. 24
UFC 미들급 챔피언 크리스 와이드먼의 백스테이지 인터뷰. 비토 벨포트에게 승리를 거두며 타이틀 방어에 성공한 와이드먼이 밝히는 경기 소감 및 향후 계획.
2015. 5. 24