If asked to rank the ten biggest stars from PRIDE FC there’s no doubt UFC lightweight Takanori Gomi would be towards the top of the list. Gomi went 13-1 while flying the famed promotion’s flag including wins over some of the sport’s best including Jens Pulver, Mitsuhiro Ishida, Tatsuya Kawajiri, and Hayato Sakurai.
However, as great as Gomi looked during his glory days, “The Fireball Kid” has been far from hot as of late, losing three of four since joining the UFC’s roster with the trio of defeats all involving a submission stoppage. Gomi will have a chance at redemption this weekend when he faces newcomer Eiji Mitsuoka at UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson where, he assures fans, he’ll return to form.
“I am really happy to have a chance to fight in UFC Japan. I never thought it was going to happen this early, and I’m glad that I continued my career this long,” said Gomi in an interview with the UFC’s website. “It’s been a while, so I am looking forward to fighting in front of the Japanese crowd. I want to be my true self and show them a great fight.”
Though Gomi has struggled against mat-based adversaries, as Mitsuoka is, this time around he feels he’s prepared to the point where it won’t be an issue.
“I think I lacked stamina and ground techniques. I want to make an improvement on that, so I’ve reviewed the training regimen that I’ve done and trained even harder,” explained Gomi. “I am proud of myself for being one of the Japan-born UFC fighters and I think Japanese fighters have this fighting spirit of not giving up until it’s really over.”
“The Fireball Kid is coming back. Please keep an eye on me,” he concluded.