Takanori Gomi at the height of his power was as good as almost any lightweight in the world.
The former Shooto and Pride Fighting Championships titleholder will look to put an end to a career-worst four-fight losing streak at UFC Fight Night 117 on Friday, when he collides with Dong Hyun Kim in a three-round lightweight showcase at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Gomi has won just four times in eight starts since joining the Ultimate Fighting Championship roster in March 2010. The soon-to-be 39-year-old last fought at UFC Fight Night 111 on June 17, when he submitted to a rear-naked choke from Jon Tuck 72 seconds into the first round. Gomi held the Pride lightweight championship from Dec. 31, 2005 until the organization shuttered its doors on Oct. 4, 2007.
As “The Fireball Kid” approaches his battle with Kim, here are five things you might not know about him:
1. He rose to superstardom in his native Japan.
Gomi cut his teeth in Shooto before moving on to Pride, where he set records for the longest winning streak (10) and fastest knockout (0:06). He owns a 26-2 record between the two organizations, with his only losses coming to Joachim Hansen and Marcus Aurelio.
2. His odometer has been put to use.
Stretching back nearly two decades, Gomi’s exceptional career covers 49 bouts and has seen him compete in Singapore, the United States, Japan and China. When Gomi made his debut at a Shooto event on Nov. 27, 1998, Kim was just 10 years old.
3. Spectacular finishes have been a hallmark.
Gomi has stopped 14 opponents inside one round. His list of victims: Tyson Griffin, Duane Ludwig, Mitsuhiro Ishida, David Baron, Hayato Sakurai, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Luiz Azeredo, Jens Pulver, Charles Bennett, Fabio Mello, Ralph Gracie, Jadyson Costa, Nick Ertl and Stephen Palling.
4. His UFC struggles can be linked at least partially to the level of competition he has faced.
While Gomi has gone 4-8 in 12 appearances under the Ultimate Fighting Championship flag, those eight losses have come against Tuck, Jim Miller, Joe Lauzon, Myles Jury, Diego Sanchez, Nate Diaz, Clay Guida and Kenny Florian. Their combined record is 176-72.
5. Wins have been hard to come by as the miles have accumulated and his skills have diminished.
When Gomi steps into the cage to face Kim, a total of 1,245 days will have passed since his most recent victory -- a unanimous decision over Isaac Vallie-Flag at UFC 172 that earned both men $50,000 “Fight of the Night” bonuses.