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
하파엘 도스 안조스가 가족과의 접촉을 끊고 싱가폴로 향해 최고의 전문가들로부터 주짓수와 무에타이를 배운다. 에디 알바레즈는 집에서 훈련을 실시하며 정반대의 방법을 사용한다.
2016. 6. 27
UFC 라이트급 챔피언 하파엘 도스 안조스가 7월 7일 도전자 에디 알바레즈를 상대로 타이틀 2차 방어에 나선다. 이 경기는 MGM 그랜드 가든 아레나에서 열리는 UFN 라스베이거스 대회의 메인이벤트로 UFC 파이트패스를 통해 독점 생중계된다.
2016. 6. 27
UFC 스트로급 챔피언 요안나 옌제이치크가 고향 폴란드 올슈틴, 클라우디아 가델랴와의 라이벌 관계에 대해 이야기한다. 옌제이치크는 7월 7일 금요일 TUF 결승대회에서 가델랴와 2차전을 벌인다.
2016. 6. 27
역사적인 규모로 치러지는 UFC 200 대회, 케인 벨라스케스가 출전한다는 사실을 기억하자. 벨라스케스는 메인카드에서 트래비스 브라운과 헤비급 대결을 벌인다.
2016. 6. 27