As reported early this morning, Takanori Gomi vs. Andy Souwer is a go for RIZIN 11 next month.
During the press conference in Japan, heads of RIZIN joined the PRIDE legend Gomi on stage in front of media. There he spoke about his new gym, the upcoming Souwer bout, desire to close out the year on a win streak, and more!
Souwer was not present in Japan, however, we did get a few words from him as well thanks to a press release sent out by the promotion.
Takanori Gomi (35-15, 1NC) has long been considered as one of the greatest Japanese fighters of all time, winning prestigious titles such as the Shooto Welterweight Championship and PRIDE Lightweight Championship.
However, the ‘Fireball Kid’ did not have the best run in the UFC. He closed out a less-than-stellar run last year after losing five-straight. After thirteen years, though, the 39-year-old legend journeyed back to Japan to take part in their annual, big NYE event. This time under the RIZIN banner.
In his debut, he took on rising star Yusuke Yachi. Despite being submitted, it was definitely one of the more fun fights of the night.
When he met with media in Japan, Gomi was eager to speak about his gym and strength of his training heading into RIZIN 11.
“My new gym is really taking off right now. The training has been great. I have no injuries, I feel healthy, and I felt like I should get back in the ring right now instead of waiting until NYE.”
Speaking of NYE, Gomi then spoke about wanting to defeat Andy Souwer in July before fighting once more in 2018 prior to returning again on December 31. In his perfect scenario, this happens and he wins all three of those bouts – this despite him having not tasted victory since 2014.
“I don’t like to lose, and I don’t want to do so again. I really, really want to finish this year with three consecutive wins. I want three fights, July, December, and something in between. Me and Sakakibara can work on the timing and (laughs) money. While doing that, there’s no better way to relieve stress than knocking someone out in the ring.
Takanori Gomi is clearly more motivated than ever under the RIZIN banner. We saw that early on in his loss against Yachi. He’s very vocal about being tired of losing, and he plans to adapt his game even further despite his mileage to help him succeed in RIZIN Fighting Federation.
“I feel like I’ve lacked in jiu-jitsu – especially when I fought in the UFC. So I’m really working on that area of my game right now. After coming back to Japan, I just feel much more motivated when it comes to competing and getting ready for each fight.”
“It’s actually really nice to be back home and able to compete at home. I don’t have to stress about travel, time difference, and all the other conditional concerns when it comes to fighting internationally.”
Opposite him will be an elite level kickboxer in the form of Andy Souwer (2-3) – and the Dutchman is thrilled to be able to fight a legend like Takanori Gomi in Japan.
“I have been having a rough time with my MMA career, but being able to fight Gomi is very exciting for me. He is for sure one of the best strikers to ever compete in MMA. I used to watch him back in the day, and his style of constantly going for the finish is exactly what I do as well. This is a great match-up, and I hope to put on a fight that everyone will enjoy.”
It will be Gomi’s 52nd MMA bout when he takes on a veteran of over 180 kickboxing contests; Andy Souwer. So, let’s see if we get to see some of that jiu-jitsu he has been working on, or if we see the slugfest that both of these men are surely capable of.