2 Jan 2010 06:27:47 AM
(Takanori Gomi wins the PRIDE lightweight title by knocking out Hayato Sakurai at Shockwave 2005.)
This would have been incredible if it happened three or four years ago, but hey, better late than never, right? According to MMA Fighting, lightweight legend Takanori Gomi has signed a multi-fight contract with the UFC; no word yet on the date of his debut or who his first opponent will be. Gomi visited the States last month to meet with the UFC and Strikeforce, and take in a training session at American Kickboxing Academy.
Holding a record of 31-5, Gomi is best known for his dominant run in PRIDE from 2004-2006, where he won the organization’s lightweight belt and took out such notable fighters as Jens Pulver, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Hayato Sakurai, and Mitsuhiro Ishida. However, his last PRIDE appearance was a shock gogoplata loss to Nick Diaz in February ’07, and he then went 2-2 in Sengoku, dropping matches to Sergey Golyaev and Satoru Kitoka; after the Kitaoka loss, Gomi began to question his training and motivation. Though Gomi has won his last two bouts, he hasn’t been facing the kind of top-level competition that he regularly enjoyed at his peak. Will the UFC’s talent-rich lightweight class re-ignite the Fireball Kid, or will he join Mirko Cro Cop and Wanderlei Silva in the PRIDE Curse Club?