Four years ago, Tatsuya
Kawajiri succumbed to a rear-naked choke from Takanori
Gomi at Pride “Bushido 9” at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo. Now
31, the former Shooto champion has not forgotten the sting of
defeat that night in September 2005, and if fate sees fit, he wants
another crack at the one-time Pride Fighting Championships
Gomi (30-5, 1 NC) knocked out Takashi
Nakakura at a Shooto event in May, as he snapped a two-fight
losing streak. It seems his demise may have been greatly
“He was very strong. There is no point in comparing his past and
present since it may mean that he improved,” Kawajiri said.
“Ultimately, if I have the chance and if that’s what the fans wish
to see, I’d like to fight him again. He’s my arch rival.”
Kawajiri expected Gomi to rebound from losses to Sergey
Golyaev and Satoru
Kitaoka inside the Sengoku promotion.
“He was different from the Gomi that I fought,” he said. “I knew he
Kawajiri (24-5-2) also has designs on a rematch with Caol Uno, whom he
battled to a draw at a Shooto event in March 2004. Uno, however,
returned to the UFC earlier this month and lost a unanimous
decision to Spencer
Fisher in Germany.
“I’m not so concerned about the rematch not taking place,” Kawajiri
said. “I hope he does well in the UFC. It takes a lot of courage to
fight in the UFC today. If we keep on fighting, we might as well
meet again in the ring. Only time will tell.”
In the meantime, as he prepares for a K-1 rules match with Masato
Kobayashi on July 13 in Tokyo, Kawajiri plans to monitor the
Dream featherweight grand prix and teammate Hiroyuki
“I would like to see him win since I train with him,” Kawajiri
said. “I also believe he has all the tools to win the
He sees Hideo Tokoro
-- a submission winner against Abel Cullum
at Dream 9 -- as the darkhorse.
“The one fighter who you have to keep an eye on is Hideo
Tokoro. He seems to have something outside of his abilities. To
keep winning in a tournament like this, you need to bring in luck
and catch the flow of the tournament for things to go your way.
Coming up with a submission win the way he did after three straight
defeats -- that’s amazing. He isn’t your ordinary fighter.”