Former Pride lightweight champion Takanori Gomi has signed a multi-fight contract with the UFC. “The Fireball Kid” had spoken previously about his desire to move his career to the US as well as his hopes to sign with the UFC. MMAFighting.com reported Friday that though Gomi’s debut is not yet set, and there has been no official announcement by the promotion, Gomi has been signed by the UFC.
Gomi put together a strong record in his early career, losing only to Joachim Hansen, BJ Penn, and Marcus Aurelio prior to 2007, compiling a record of 27-3 up to that point. Those wins included victories over Hayato Sakurai, Luiz Azeredo, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Jens Pulver, Charles Bennett, Ralph Gracie, and Rumina Sato among others. In February of 2007, however, he fell to Nick Diaz at Pride 33 via Gogoplata, but that decision was later overturned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission due to a positive drug test (marijuana) for Diaz.
Following the controversial Diaz bout, Gomi defeated Duane Ludwig and Seung Hwang Bang at Sengoku 1 and Sengoku 4 respectively. He then became the victim of two consecutive upsets, falling to Sergey Golyaev and Satoru Kitaoka in his final two bouts in Sengoku. However, Gomi has bounced back earning a knock out victory against Takashi Nakakura at Shooto: Tradition Final in May, and decisioning Tony Hervey at Vale Tudo Japan 2009 in October.
Gomi is a fighter that possesses quality striking and wrestling abilities and could further complicate the UFC’s current traffic jam of lightweight contenders.