Translated by Korey Howard
MMAWeekly caught up with Takanori Gomi at his gym(Kiguchi Dojo) in Japan as he spoke with the press about his fight this weekend. After a light training, he had this to say….
Q: About your condition: there have been reports that you’ve been under the weather. . .
Gomi: Yeah, when it warms up you let your guard down after training and stuff. Happens to everybody. It’s nothing big really. . .
Q: So, you’re saying you’re better now? About how long have you been well?
Gomi: It’s just that my nose is stuffed up. I haven’t had any fever or anything. It’s just because it’s warmed up lately.
Q: It looks like from today’s session that you have your plans down for the Aurelio match?
Gomi: Yeah, basically I think that’s what you have to do when you’re fighting him. Try to limit the number of times he takes me down to one or two. Then just make sure I don’t get caught in a lock when I go for the takedown. I think that what you saw here will come out during the course of the match, too.
Q: So, should we take it that you have been practicing more on your pounding from the inside for this fight?
Gomi: I practiced more for stand-up but I practiced about the same amount for my ground punches. I think that’s his weak point. He gets cut easy too. So, I didn’t do anything much different than usual.
Q: You’re fighting a ju-jitsu stylist this time, so did you train with any ju-jitsu guys, or were there any changes made in your training to account for that?
Gomi: I had some opportunities to train with those guys, but I injured them all and wasn’t able to continue with that type of training. (laughs) Yeah. . . So I haven’t done much of that. I’ve trained from the bottom and stuff though. But even though he’s a ju-jitsu stylist, the rules are totally different. I’m not going to be wearing a gi either. As soon as the fight starts I don’t think it’s going to make much difference anyway.
Q: Do you like fighting guys who purposely try to pull you into their guard?
Gomi: It’s kind of like when Chonan fought Schembri – I hated that, but sometimes fights with guys who do that are going to turn out that way. But I don’t think he’s going to be quite that bad. At least he goes for the takedown before trying to pull guard. And it’s the main event, so I think he’ll want to put on a good show. I think it’ll be OK.
Q: You’re fighting as a champion this time. Does that make you feel any different than you have up until now?
Gomi: Maybe it’s because this is the first time, but I do feel kind of “bogged down” or tired mentally. Even in my NYE fight – it was only five minutes, and I didn’t get hurt at all, but I was emotionally exhausted after it ended. If it were only a physical exhaustion, I could get over it in two or three weeks, but. . . These past few months have seemed really long. At the beginning of the year there are lots of MMA events, so I’ve been wanting to get back in there as I watched the other guys fight. It just feels better to get in there and work up a sweat in the ring.
Q: Do you feel more motivated not to lose than you did before?
Gomi: Hmm. . . Sometimes I get caught up in that and it affects me in a negative way, but you can’t be thinking of something like that on the day of the fight, so I think I’ll just watch the other fights and internalize it all and peak just when I go out to the ring.
Q: What became of the new dojo?
Q: The one you talked about before when you were saying you’d like to have your own space.
Gomi: That’s the dream of any fighter who reaches a certain status like I have. But it costs money, so it’s not something I can just do overnight. (…) They’ve started a Pankration class here (at Kiguchi Dojo), and I guess it would be a good idea to use this fight as a start towards changing my training environment. I guess we’ll see through this fight whether I’m OK with what I’m doing or if I need to mix it up a bit and train some with other people. I mean, I’m in the best environment possible already, but I’ve been doing this for what – 10 years now? I get bored pretty easy, so it’d be nice to change from day to day.
Q: Are you starting to feel like you want to get in the ring?
Gomi: Yeah. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to really concentrate on training like I have this time. Taking three weeks or so off seemed like a long time, but I was able to rest up and I haven’t had any injuries during these past few months, so I can hardly wait to get in there.
Q: Did I understand you to say a moment ago that you want people to be looking at how you’ve changed when you get in the ring this time?
Gomi: I’m going on my third year of fighting in Bushido. It’s been a quick couple of years, but I hope it turns out to be a fight that will keep people from getting tired of me. I don’t think I’ve gone stale quite yet, but. . . (laughs) But I’m coming off having accomplished one of my goals, so I hope I can show some new stuff.
Q: It sounds like you’re ready for the fight. Any predictions on how long it will take you to finish him? (Quick KO or anything?)
Gomi: (laughs) Some people pick on me about the way I train, and say stuff like, “You’re depending on your experience (rather than training),” or, they say I’m waiting for a miracle like when I fought Ralf Gracie. I think I’m training hard though. Those guys have had their fights now, but I’ll show them a miracle.
Q: About how much time?
Gomi: If I catch him with a good knee it’ll end pretty quickly, I think. It’ll be a pain if it goes long. KO. It would be best to finish him with a KO.
Q: So you’ll try to stop him in the first so it doesn’t go long?