Takanori Gomi | “The Fireball Kid”
Ht: 5’8 – Wt: 155 – Age: 34
Born: Kanagawa, Japan
Fights out of: Tokyo, Japan
Team: Kugayama Rascal
Overall Record: 34-8
UFC Record: 3-3
Takanori Gomi may be one of the best fighters to ever come out of Japan. Gomi possessed high-level wrestling and knockout power as he parlayed those skills into a PRIDE Lightweight championship. Gomi made his mixed martial arts debut in 1998, racking up a 9-0 record before defeating Rumina Sato for the Shooto welterweight (154 lbs.) championship. Gomi went on to win his next four fights before suffering his first career loss to Joachim Hansen. Gomi moved on to fight B.J. Penn in what was considered a dream matchup by fans. Penn won the fight via 3rd round submission, quickly erasing Gomi’s status as the world’s top lightweight. Following the loss, Gomi signed with PRIDE and began rebuilding his career with devastating finishes of Ralph Gracie, Jens Pulver, and Luiz Azeredo. Gomi won his first 7 PRIDE fights before entering the PRIDE 2005 lightweight grand prix. Gomi defeated top veterans Tatsuya Kawajiri, Luiz Azeredo, and Hayato Sakurai to win the tournament and claim hold of the PRIDE lightweight championship. Gomi stunningly lost his next fight to Marcus Aurelio via submission, though the fight was a non-title bout. Gomi bounced back with 3 straight wins, including avenging his previous loss to Aurelio. Gomi moved on to face Nick Diaz in his final PRIDE fight in 2007. In a back-and-forth war, Diaz was able to win the fight via submission, though the result was later overturned due to Diaz’s failed drug test. Gomi moved on to the Sengoku promotion where he struggled to a 2-2 record as his motivation seemed to come into question. Gomi bounced back with a couple of wins on the independent circuit before signing with the UFC in 2010. Gomi debuted against Kenny Florian and lost in the 3rd round via submission. Gomi’s next fight ended in highlight-reel fashion as he knocked out former prospect Tyson Griffin at UFC Live 2. Unfortunately, Gomi could not capitalize on the momentum as he lost his next two fights against Clay Guida and Nate Diaz.
Gomi went 0-2 in 2011, losing both fights via submission.
Gomi faced Clay Guida at UFC 125 to kick off 2011. Gomi seemed perplexed by Guida’s continual feints and movement, and fell victim to Guida’s takedowns before being submitted in the 2nd round via guillotine.
Gomi looked to rebound against Nate Diaz at UFC 135. Diaz connected on some early punches due to his reach advantage and instantly pounced on a hurt Gomi, locking on an armbar for the 1st round finish.
Gomi’s glory days from PRIDE and Shooto are now a distant memory. Many fans were hopeful Gomi had returned to stardom with his knockout win over Tyson Griffin in 2010, but he fell far short from proving he is still a viable contender in his last two fights. Gomi’s knockout power is undeniable, but if he wants to stay competitive in the UFC a move to featherweight may be his best option. Considering Gomi’s conditioning has always been a question mark, it is highly doubtful he will make the necessary steps in resurrecting his career.
Takanori Gomi Fight Record
Overall Record: 32-8
2008-2011 Record: 5-5
2011 Record: 0-2
Loss | Nate Diaz | Sub | Rd 1 | UFC | 09/24/2011
Loss | Clay Guida | Sub | Rd 2 | UFC | 01/01/2011
2010 Record: 1-1
Win | Tyson Griffin | KO | Rd 1 | UFC | 08/01/2010
Loss | Kenny Florian | Sub | Rd 3 | UFC | 03/31/2010
2009 Record: 2-1
Win | Tony Hervey | Dec | Rd 5 | UFC | 10/30/2009
Win | Takashi Nakakura | KO | Rd 2 | | 05/10/2009
Loss | Satoru Kitaoka | Sub | Rd 1 | Seng | 01/04/2009
2008 Record: 2-1
Loss | Sergey Golyaev | Dec | Rd 3 | Seng | 11/01/2008
Win | Seung Hwan Bang | Dec | Rd 3 | Seng | 08/24/2008
Win | Duane Ludwig | Tko | Rd 1 | Seng | 03/05/2008