Takanori Gomi held a press conference at his recently opened gym, Kugayama Rascal Gym, in Suginami Ward, Tokyo, on August 7th. Gomi will face David Baron in a non-tournament match at the PRIDE BUSHIDO SURVIVAL 2nd ROUND, the second round of the PRIDE Welterweight Grand Prix, to be held on August 26th at Nagoya's Rainbow Hall.

Takanori Gomi's recently opened gym, Kugayama Rascal Gym, is very close to the Kugayama Station, off the Keio Inogashira train line. The press conference to announce Gomi's opponent was announced at the new gym, which is only two weeks old. The name "Rascal" came from the party following Gomi's KO victory over Jens Pulver at the New Year's Eve event two years ago, where one of his friends told him what "rascal" means in English.
"It's been a tough rough but we've finally made it this far, including the gym, and now I'm able to continuously work on the basics. This is difficult period but everything will be better once I can get past it. The gym will also be broke in by November and I will overcome this somehow. I feel different than April. I feel mentally strong now and mentally; I'm ready to fight at the end of summer. I want to show everyone a fight that will make the fans happy and be fitting of BUSHIDO's ace fighter," Gomi said, looking refreshed. Gomi looks more focused than before his April fight against Marcus Aurelio, and his body seems to be in better shape.
"I haven't brought any pro fighters to this gym. Rather than being an instructor, I want to make sparring partners in this gym that I can be satisfied with. Somewhere between two and five people will be fine. That's what I intend to do. I want to make fighters that can keep up with my training," Gomi said about his desires for his new gym.
Gomi continued, "Of course, I need to train with top-class fighters but this is mixed martial arts so I have many, many things I have to check out before the fight. It's easy to get stuck when you just concentrate on one thing. Like, you get stuck on striking and then you do nothing but striking. I want to raise fighters that won't have those kind of holes, and won't get stuck in those patterns. What you need for mixed martial arts is a mixed martial arts gym."
The gym's official opening is scheduled to follow Gomi's comeback fight but there are already a few members training there. Gomi explained that it's a high-intensity gym with a small number of high-intensity members. "It's doesn't have anything to do with whether they are weak or strong. It's because they are willing to do their best in training. I tell them to think about that hard before they come, and then I give them a guide to the gym. They all seem surprised. I don't think they expected to be training directly with me. At first, there will be a limit of 30 members so we can focus on increasing everyone's level."
First, Gomi said, he wants to train amateur fighters and have them fight around November. "In the end, I would like to have several pictures of Champion members on the wall. Even if they don't want to compete, I want to bring up kids that simply love martial arts and love training at the gym. Everyone has told me that Kugayama Rascal Gym already sounds like it should have some branch gyms but the truth is, I'm already thinking about a nationwide expansion in the future." (laughing)
Gomi also spoke about some of his problems. "I used all of my money on this gym so as a man, I've got to work a little harder. (laughing) I will get what I deserve as the Champion, though. I've got to save up for my thirties. (laughing)," Gomi said, explaining that he is financially hungry, in addition to being hungry for the fight. "I rented a decent place when I moved to Tokyo but I've still got a ways to go."
About his August 26th opponent, David Baron, Gomi said, "I've seen several of his fights on video. His attacks from the bottom are good and he has a unique setup for the omo plata. His style is a little like Chris Brennan's. His stubborn ground fighting stands out more than his striking. I think he's put a lot of work into his training. He's not flashy but you can tell that he trains a lot. In short, he's the worst kind of opponent for me."
"I will have to be careful of techniques from the bottom. I have to pay attention to the basics and not make simple mistakes, like giving up easy takedowns," Gomi added, promising that he would make easy mistakes like in his fight with Aurelio.
Gomi continued, sound a bit more like his old self, "When my opponent stands across from me in the ring this time, I want him to know that he can't beat me. PRIDE is an event that you dream about, especially for foreign fighters. I won't make the same mistake twice and this fight will be about "attacking." I will be on the attack, going for the finish."
Gomi sounded different and looked different than he did in April. "As time passes, you lose that feeling of accomplishment you had when you won the belt because you can't think about it all the time. Now I'm off to a new start. Obiya will fight in BUSHIDO this time and he seems to be in very good condition. I know that Obiya has come up (through the ranks) with respect for me and I don't want to make him think that Gomi is burnt out, so I will use these last two weeks to make sure that I'm in perfect condition," Gomi said, sounding very motivated.
Gomi won 10 consecutive fights in PRIDE, fought an expert fight against Hayato "Mach" Sakurai and won the Lightweight Grand Prix and Lightweight (Division) Championship belts. Gomi has achieved many goals, so the question is what will he be fighting for now?
"My jobs as the Champion," Gomi answered. "I'm always ready to defend my title. As long as I'm training. Anytime and anyone. I hate being talked about indirectly. That really irritates me."
"When I win this time, I'm going to challenge the Japanese fighters watching ringside to get in the ring," Gomi said, getting excited and saying he's ready to accept a certain Japanese fighter's challenge. "Of course, I have to win this fight first, though. If Ishida can win again the way he did last time, I'll accept his challenge anytime. I hope Ishida will give that kind of fight again. I would mind if he climbed into the ring after my fight was over and said let's fight'".
"Anyone that wants fight me, get in the ring once all the fights are over," Gomi continued, challenging all the Japanese fighters. "I'm very tough when you get me one-on-one!"
"I will be prepared and focused on the fight. I don't have that feeling of accomplishment anymore. It's a new season. I just want to win and start this year off right because I'm the kind of fighter that can really focus once I get started."
"I'm lifting weights this time and I feel like I've gone back to my roots more so than the last time," Gomi said. For six days this month, Gomi participated in joint training with a university wrestling team, conducting the same special training that he did before competing in last year's Lightweight Grand Prix. This special training is part of Gomi's roots and one of the reasons he was able to win his way up the Lightweight Grand Prix. According to Gomi, Nobuhiro Obiya, who will also compete in this BUSHIDO, also participated in this special training.
"I will spar with current top-class fighters and then come back to this gym. I can concentrate the most in the last three weeks. Maybe I'll harass Obiya a little more. (laughing) We trained together two weeks ago and now we'll both challenge ourselves in BUSHIDO. I'm mentally strong, too, so we will both have good fights. I have to fight well enough to make sure Obiya knows that he can't beat me yet. Obiya seems to be in his best condition but I will have to give a fight that several levels better."
Gomi's word and actions make it seem like the "killer Gomi" we knew before the Lightweight Grand Prix has returned. The participation of his friend, Obiya, in BUSHIDO has also apparently motivated Gomi as PRIDE's Lightweight Champion finally returns to the BUSHIDO ring in Nagoya.