One Last Stand: The Fireball Kid Returns

Shawn SmithCorrespondent IMarch 20, 2009

Despite the excellent performances from Shooto World Champions Shinichi “BJ” Kojima and Masakatsu Ueda, the big news coming out of this week’s event is the return of the Fireball Kid: Takanori Gomi.

During the “Shooto Tradition 6” event it was announced that former PRIDE Lightweight Kingpin and Shooto Welterweight Champion Takanori Gomi will return to the company where he made his name to take on the current Welterweight Champion Takashi Nakakura on May 5.

The once king of the lightweight division has since fallen from grace and has produced three uninspired performances in a row including a two minute submission loss to Satoru Kitaoka in his last fight.

Gomi has openly admitted that he has lost the spark which once made him a world beater of a fighter. When talking about his last fight against Kitaoka he said “I couldn't do anything. I suppose fans who knew me since PRIDE considered that I looked like a totally different person.

"I don't even know why. I didn't feel any energy in the ring. I hadn't proven myself in the last few fights. I was training, yet everything was fall in apart. I couldn't put together because my training wasn't enough. My skills went down in the last two years.”

If he wants to stay a prominent factor in the mixed martial arts world then Takanori Gomi needs to find that edge again. Gomi knows as well as everyone else that another dismal performance will result in him becoming a non-factor in the lightweight division.

It is make or break time for the Fireball Kid. Is he still a top 10 fighter or is this Gomi’s one last stand?