“Coming to Japan was always a great goal and a dream of mine growing up, fighting through King of the Cage, even before I was in the UFC or before The Ultimate Fighter. I always had a dream of coming to fight where fighting was most prominent in Pride. It’s something that I’ve always dreamed of doing. My career kept going and going, and I was like I guess I’m just never going to make it out there,” said Sanchez during the event’s pre-fight press conference.
Sanchez (23-5) has been bouncing back and forth between the lightweight and welterweight divisions in recent years. The fight with Gomi will be his return to the 155-pound division, and it was the return to lightweight the opened up the opportunity for him to fight in Japan.
“When I decided to make the move back to 155, I looked at the opponents and I figured what’s a better opportunity than to come out here to Japan, live one of my dreams, and fight one of the greatest fighters to come out of Japan in his own hometown,” said Sanchez.
“That’s a perfect situation for war and a great battle and that’s what I live for and that’s what I came out here to do is to give the fans and the company and everybody just a great showing and a great fight.”
Gomi (34-8-1) is 3-3 inside the Octagon, and enters the bout on a two-fight win streak. He’s coming off a split decision win over Mac Danzig in November.
Gomi says he’s “motivated” for this fight, as well, although you never would have known it by his nonchalant appearance at the press conference.
“I’m in great condition and it’s going to be a great fight,” said Gomi through the cover of his dark sunglasses.
Sanchez is 2-1 as a lightweight, losing only to B.J. Penn. This will be his second run in the 155-pound division and is looking to build on his previous success there.