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Gomi in the UFC: Fireball or Fizzle [Updated]

| January 19, 2010 | 1 Reply

Gomi 248x300 Gomi in the UFC: Fireball or Fizzle [Updated]When the UFC announced they had signed Takanori Gomi, the MMA blogosphere was brimming with kudos and rave. Once regarded as one of the top lightweights in the world, the famed “Fireball Kid” was finally in the premier mixed martial arts promotion.

For the newer MMA fans, those that found MMA via The Ultimate Fighter, chances are you have never heard of Takanori Gomi. An absolute superstar in Japan, Gomi started his MMA career on a storied run, going 14-0. That was until he ran into “Hellboy” Joachim Hansen, whom Gomi suffered his first loss to, via unanimous decision.

Gomi’s next fight came against a future MMA prodigy (pun intended) when he was matched up against a young BJ Penn, who submitted the Japanese superstar with a rear-naked choke in the third round. “The Fireball Kid” then went on another win streak, pulling out ten victories in a row and catapulting himself towards the top of most pundits lightweight rankings.

Gomi definitely cemented himself into the MMA landscape and lightweight rankings among most, if not all, hard-core fans and purists. But, the “Fireball” started to fizzle, in most people’s eyes after Nick Diaz submitted him at Pride 33, with the second-ever successful gogoplata in Pride’s history. That loss was later overturned to a No Decision by the NSAC due to Diaz testing positive for marijuana. Gomi racked up two more back-to-back wins, but then stumbled again, losing to Sergei Golyaev via decision and to Satoru Kitaoka via submission. Since then, Gomi has again won two in a row, albeit to less than stellar competition.

Soon after the UFC announced the Gomi signing, the rumor mill quickly went into full effect. Many of these rumors had Gomi’s first opponent being Kenny Florian at the UFC on Versus card in March. Florian quickly shot down the rumors, stating that he wants to fight on pay-per-view cards, which is completely understandable. Also, one must ask the question, why would Gomi deserve to fight a top ranked lightweight in his UFC debut? As well as what, if anything, should fans expect from Gomi signing with the UFC?

In all honesty, the Gomi signing looks to be based purely on name-recognition and star power, nothing more. Although Gomi used to be ranked as high as number two in the world, “The Fireball Kid” is not the same fighter he was a few years ago. He has proven he can be successful against mid-tier fighters, but has struggled against upper-level competition.

Looking at the current UFC lightweight line up, there are a handful of mid-level and up-and-coming fighters that Gomi could be matched up with. Sam Stout, Tyson Griffin, and Sean Sherk stand out in that list, as well as Caol Uno. Uno and Gomi are relatively the same experience wise, and both have victories over Shooto legend Rumanai Sato.

Already having lost to BJ Penn, who has evolved into a way better fighter then when they first met, it is highly unlikely that Takanori Gomi will be a threat to take the lightweight title, let alone become a contender. Weather or not Gomi will become yet another gatekeeper or name-based stepping stone remains to be seen.

Written by: Jeff Howard (Staff Writer)

[Update] Florian & Gomi now appear to be headlining the UFN 21 Card on Spike in late March instead of the UFC on Versus card. Even though Florian haad said the fight didn’t make since on a free card it appears thats what the UFC wants.

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Tags: BJ Penn, Caol Uno, Fireball Kid, Joachim Hansen, Kenny Florian, MMA, Nick Diaz, Pride, Rumanai Sato, Sam Stout, Satoru Kitaoka, Sean Sherk, Sergei Golyaev, Takanori Gomi, Tyson Griffin, UFC

Category: MMA, UFC, Ultimate Fighter

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My brain child is MMAValor, something I had wanted to do for a long time and finally it’s here. Been an MMA fan since TUF season one (play catch up all the time) and the obsession started to grow like a weed and as the sport grows so does the love for the sport. I’m a jack of all trades, a very organized person that rides an emotional roller coaster daily.

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  1. MMAquick says:

    wish they could have picked up melendez instead

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