Takanori Gomi Is Willing to Give Up Drinking for UFC Title Shot

Steven RondinaFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2014

Apr 26, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA;  Takanori Gomi (right) lands a punch on  Issac Vallie-Flagg during the first round in UFC 172 at Baltimore Arena. Gomi  defeated Wallie-Flagg by judges decision.  Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Takanori Gomi found himself back in the win column after he roughed up Isaac Vallie-Flagg in a unanimous-decision victory at UFC 172, but his night didn't end there. Speaking to the assembled media after the event, Gomi said he had his eyes set on the belt...and was willing to make big sacrifices to get there. 

"This is probably going to be one of my last chances to get a championship," he said. "If I could get a title shot, I will quit drinking."

You can file that as either funny or alarming. Strangely, he followed up that talk of wanting to be a title contender with an acknowledgement that he thinks about retirement "every day," and when asked how much longer he planned on fighting he said "not long."

You can check out the full interview here.

It is worth noting, though, that while Gomi is admittedly toward the end of his career, he has actually looked quite good over the last two years. While "The Fireball Kid" started his UFC career with a subpar 1-3 run, he is 3-1 since 2012.

The one loss came via a controversial split decision opposite Diego Sanchez. Many fans, media members and even UFC President Dana White believed Gomi should have earned the win.

In a perfect world with competent MMA judges, that would translate to Gomi being on a four-fight winning streak and hypothetically moving in the direction of title contention. That said, while Gomi is still an exciting fan favorite with legitimate punching power, it's hard to believe that he would stand a strong chance of beating other potential contenders like Benson Henderson, Khabib Nurmagomedov or Myles Jury.

Either way, White said he already had a date and place lined up for Gomi's next (and possibly last) fight. The UFC is returning to Japan on September 20 to do a show at the legendary Saitama Super Arena and is planning on giving Gomi a spot on the card.