The former PrideFC lightweight champion and former Shooto welterweight champion, Takanori “The Fireball Kid” Gomi, recently won a difficult fight over Takashi Nakakura at the Shooto “Traditional Final” event. His victory over Nakakura was huge for him both on a personal level and for his MMA career. At 30 years old, Gomi feels the need to test his skills on an international level and the UFC might be a possibility IF Dana White decides to integrate him in the lightweight division.
Here’s an interview that was made by sherdog.com immediately after Gomi’s win over Nakakura at Shooto “Traditional Final”:
It’s been about 20-30 minutes since your knockout victory over Takashi Nakakura. How’re you feeling now?
Gomi: Shooto is where I grew up. It feels like home, like my hometown. I feel nostalgic. It feels really good.
In the days leading up to Shooto Tradition Final, you were commenting that this fight with Nakakura was a “do or die” for you — that you absolutely needed to win. Now that you’ve returned to Shooto and have won like this, do you feel reborn?
Gomi: Yeah. I’ve been a pro for about 10 years. MMA is starting to lose its popularity a little bit here, and a lot of people in Japan don’t really know what’s going on in places like the UFC and all that. So, I felt I needed to step up and do my best to show them what MMA is all about.
Your right foot seems to be all taped up. Did you injure it during training?
Gomi: No. They’re actually both taped up, just for support. No injuries.
Speaking of training, is there any one thing that you can credit in your preparation for your success tonight?
Gomi: Mm, it’s the return, my mental mindset in coming back. Day by day, my chances become fewer and fewer, and the window to challenge myself overseas gets smaller and smaller. The opportunities are less and less now.
Do you feel like you’re racing against the clock?
Gomi: Yeah, certainly. [Laughs] My time is running out, while my students are getting better and better, so that puts even more pressure on me!
Since “time is running out,” where do you want to go next? Do you want to stick around in Shooto a little longer, or will you be heading back to fighting in big promotions? What do you, personally, want to do?
Gomi: I’d like to relax for a little bit, and if I continue fighting, I’d like to test the waters overseas.
Is there any goal in particular now that you think you must achieve?
Gomi: I’d like to get married. [Laughs]
That is indeed a great goal, but what about your career? Is there anything you’re set on doing, or do you just want to take things one fight at a time?
Gomi: Yeah, one fight at time. I want to help out my teammates and just take things one fight at a time.
Are there any comments you’d like to convey to all your international fans?
Gomi: “I’m coming soon! The Fireball Kid will be there!” [Laughs] I’d like to thank all of you, and continue to thank you for supporting me and MMA. You guys are important, and I’ll continue to do my best. Oh, and tell Dana White I said, “hi!”