PRIDE Fighting Championships veteran Takanori “The Fireball Kid” Gomi is currently set to fight for the third time under the UFC banner, against Clay Guida this weekend at UFC 125. Having gone 1-1 in the promotion–failing in his debut against Kenny Florian but roaring back with a one-punch knockout over Tyson Griffin–Gomi is looking to rack up another win in order to work his way to the lightweight title. Speaking with MMAJunkie.com recently, Gomi explained how his mentality has changed since the Florian fight and what he expects in the bout with Guida.
“The first time (I fought in the UFC), everything was so different,” Gomi said. “I was taken back a little bit. The second time, I just basically thought that the American fans would take me in if I went out and fought my heart out. That’s what I focused on for the fight.”
Gomi told MMAJunkie that his familiarity and comfort fighting in front of Japanese crowds did not translate when he made his UFC debut in the US.
“I was very uncomfortable in the first fight,” Gomi said. “Obviously, I always fought in Japan, and the fans here, that’s the uncomfortableness. That’s why I went into that fight very uncomfortable.”
Gomi has not had an easy opponent yet in the UFC and that certainly doesn’t change now that he is fighting Clay Guida. Gomi does not expect an easy night Saturday and believes the victor in his bout with Guida will be decided based on whose will is stronger.
“I think his explosiveness is something that’s probably different (than previous opponents),” Gomi said. “I feel that it’s a test of wills. If I don’t have the will, I won’t be able to become a champion, either. He’s an aggressive fighter who doesn’t give up, and I think that’s what’s really appealing to the American fight fans.”
The 32-6 Tokyo native revealed that his current motivation is to capture the UFC lightweight title and that he will do whatever he needs to do in order to achieve that goal.
“Disregarding the ranking, I just want to fight for the title,” Gomi said. “I want to fight the champion. I want to get the championship belt. I want to use the ‘never give up’ philosophy and keep going until I get the belt.”
UFC 125: Resolution goes down this Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.