I just want to have a positive career and make a positive change in any aspect I can. I just want to be able to help. My resolution is to help people. Like with my book, I get a lot of people that write to me with more personal questions about life and motivation. That's my goal. It always has been. I just want to help the youth as much as I can and help give them opportunities that they think they may not have. The life I grew up, when it seems like all the doors are closed, but my mom worked really hard to try and keep them open.
You seem very open about that. Is that what helped you become the fighter you are?
Yeah. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I thought about it in the beginning but that's just who I am and where I came from so I can't be afraid of it. At first, when the book came out, I was really scared because everyone was going to know a lot about me. To have some have any opinion on your life, especially a bad one, I was kind of worried about that but the overall reaction has put me in a position that I want to be in, which is helping people. I get people asking me girlfriend problems, high school problems, a lot of them ask me. Because went I left, I gave up everything. I just had my two duffel bags and started chasing a dream so I get a lot of people asking me those questions. So, it helps me. I learned from Bob Shamrock because he had a youth home and that's who I stayed with in California. I just want to continue that, keep working with kids.
You've flown under the radar since your departure from the UFC but now you are back, taking on one of the best. You've beaten B.J. Penn and one of Gomi's losses is to B.J. Penn. What are your thoughts on a fight like this?
I learned with that loss to Ludwig and Maxwell, they were knockouts, and both of them were pretty vicious knockouts, and that took a lot to admit. I got knocked out brutally. I get asked a lot if I would have changed the way I fought and no, I wouldn't have shot in for takedowns. I used to say, if this were a job, I would quit because I want it to be fun. This time around, I basically started over. It's not about the money. It's not about where I'm fighting. It's about how I'm fighting. It is my job and I'm proud that it's my job. That's help me, going into each fight, no matter who I'm fighting, to have a more calm perspective and I say 'hey, another 20 seconds, if I'm still awake, I'm going to keep fighting.' When the lights go out, you don't know. I didn't know when Ludwig hit me. I didn't know when Maxwell knocked me out. It just happened. I don't want to be one of those fighters that sits back and tries to block everything because they are afraid to get knocked out. I'm not afraid to get knocked out. What I'm afraid of is being a disappointment and overall being booed, over having a bad performance. That hurts me worse.
The biggest thing that worries me is if it gets into too much of a wrestling match, trying to stop his takedowns or having him on top of me. Then his weight really comes into play because he's bigger than me but if he's standing 2 feet away from me, I don't care how much he ways because if I hit you, it's going to hurt, just like if he hits me. I'm not carrying his weight though and I can move and use that quickness. If he gets a hold of me, that's when I start carrying his weight around so that's what I've been training for, getting in to good shape and being able to defend that. His attacks never stop. He just keeps coming and coming. So, I want to be able to outwrestle him and get back to my feet and I'll match him punch for punch.
If everything's going my way, we'll be standing up. I'm aiming for his liver. The liver shot is the shot, period. All of my boxing matches were won from liver shots. S-Cup was a liver shot. Gomi's got a really hard chin and a really hard head but the thing I'm aiming for is three feet below that. I'm going right for the liver.
Do you think this is an opportunity for you to get back in the game?
Yes. I've always enjoyed being the underdog because I have to have someone there that I can look at after I win and say 'told ya.' I have to prove somebody wrong so I love it when people count me out. Growing up in life, when I had a father that said I wouldn't amount to anything, I've always had someone to rival against and prove wrong. I love that. I can't even tell you how long I've wanted to be in this show. This is what I've been waiting for. The UFC really pales in comparison to this show. This opportunity doesn't come around for everybody so I want to make the best of it.