It wasn't the easiest of transitions from the ring to the cage, but Takanori Gomi seems to be finding his groove.
After spending most of his fighting career competing inside the hollowed Pride FC ring, Gomi's transition to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) wasn't a smooth one at first. Failing to impress in his Octagon debut against Kenny Florian back in 2010, "The Fireball Kid" went on to defeat Tyson Griffin via first round knockout in his next outing before proceeding to drop two straight against Clay Guida and Nate Diaz.
Looking to avoid a third consecutive loss and a potential pink slip from Zuffa, Gomi returned to the house where he earned the reputation as one of them most lethal 155-pound fighters in the world, Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, to take on Eiji Mitsuoka this past February at UFC 144.
Admittedly going in super confident and underestimating his opponent, Gomi went on to stop Mitsuoka in round two, preserving his spot on the UFC's lightweight roster.
Speaking to UFC.com, the former Pride champion talked about his previous performances inside the cage, explaining the reason fighting in Asia provides him some advantages over his competition:
"I had an injury prior to the fight that made me a little nervous, but I believe that I had an advantage in the Octagon because it was my opponent's first fight in the UFC. I felt like I had nothing to lose, and I just wanted to show the audience everything that I have. I was so happy that I could show my victory to my sparring partners and people who supported me over the year."
Fighting in Asia proved to be a welcome site for Gomi and he says when he steps into the Octagon this weekend (Nov. 10, 2012) against Mac Danzig at UFC on Fuel TV 6: "Franklin vs. Le" in Macau, China, he plans on fighting aggressive in hopes of not letting down his loyal fans:
"I finally felt like I could relax in the Octagon since I fought in Japan. I don't have to travel long when I fight in Asia. That's a huge difference from fighting in the States. Also, it is easier for me to find food that I like in Asian countries. I hope both of us will be in the Octagon in the best condition. I'm going to show an aggressive fight and make the audience loud. All I can do is to keep fighting the way I used to so that I don't let people down."
Despite many believing the 34-year-old Japanese fighter is past his prime, Gomi still has the goal of becoming UFC champion in his sights.
Defeating Danzig, a former The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winner -- who looks to build on his own momentum after winning his last time out -- will help him get closer to that goal and help him string together consecutive victories for the first time in four years.
Can he get it done?