(Video courtesy YouTube/Fight!)
As impressive as Takanori Gomi’s knockout win over Tyson Griffin was last night at UFC Live on Versus 2, I think it might be somewhat premature to jump on the bandwagon that a lot of reporters have seemed to have piled onto since last night by making claims like Fight! Magazine’s Danny Acosta that the "old Takanori Gomi is back" and that he was "the biggest star in PRIDE."
Even Gomi, seems like he wants to further prove himself and obviously he feels that he has improvements to make, which he thinks will only come to fruition if he trains Stateside to learn the "American style of fighting" he referred to in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan after his win last night.
"If I’m going to compete seriously here, I think [a move to America to train] is almost going to be necessary. I’ll probably wind up training full-time in the U.S… In regards to who I fight next, I’ve thought about it, but there’s no easy fighter [in the UFC]. They’re all tough. Whoever I fight is going to be a tough fight, so I’m not really spending a lot of time saying, ‘I’d prefer to have this guy or that guy’. Whoever I get, I get," Gomi explains. "Moving forward, the goal of my training is going to be to delight the fans and not let them down. I think they’re on my side and I want to give them a good show every time. My goal for the next fight is to show them something more than I was able to show them next fight.
A lot of fans and pundits who were waiting to call the time of death of Japanese mixed martial arts last night were watching Gomi and fellow countryman Yushin Okami‘s fights very closely with scrutinizing eyes, but "Thunder" and "The Fireball Kid" were able to defibrillate JMMA — at least temporarily — and now the same naysayers who had their hearses idling outside the San Diego Sports Arena are conducting their Internet victory parades.
Cognizant of what was riding on his performance last night, Gomi, who earned "Knockout of the Night" honors for his effort, says that if he can continue to win in the Octagon, he will be able to return home to Japan — where much has been made in recent years of the rivalry between their fighters and those from the U.S. — a hero.
"This is the major leagues of major league, so if I can reach the top here and be a returning hero to Japan and introduce UFC there, that would be like a lifetime goal [for me]," Gomi says. "That would be great."