A big win at LFA 74 has Leandro Gomes feeling ready for the UFC — but he’s willing to put together as many wins as it takes in order to not just join the big show, but be the best.
Riverside, CA — Bantamweight Leandro Gomes was supposed to take part in last year’s Liddell vs. Ortiz 3 card, under the Golden Boy MMA banner. However, an injury to opponent Westin Wilson saw the fight fall through. With Oscar De La Hoya suddenly all quiet on the MMA front, Gomes had been out of the cage for just over a year before finally returning at LFA 74 on Friday night.
There, he pulled off a kneebar submission of Anthony Jimenez, a King of the Cage regular who entered the fight undefeated as a pro.
Immediately following the bout Gomes (4-1) spoke to Cageside Press about his time away, and UFC dreams.
“I was one year off the cage, and I’m so happy to be here, to have that opportunity,” he said post fight. When he was in action, the he thought about the time off, Gomes said, describing it as “a long time, one year just training every day, every single day, twice a day to be here.”
Behind him, however, “I have a great team, my family, my coach, my King’s MMA family,” he explained, and they were no doubt a big motivator. “And I’m here. I’m happy to fight today, and get the win.”
Nerves in front of his supporters weren’t too bad. “The people love me, I don’t know why,” he joked. “I’m so happy, I get nervous a little bit, but I’m more happy and grateful to have a lot of people around me, good people, good energy. And then everyone here comes to help me. This made me think about, ‘okay, you have to do 100% because it’s not just because [of] you, it’s because [of] your family, your friends, who want to see Leandro Gomes in the UFC. I just want to say thank you for everybody. Thank you for coming, and that’s it. We got a win!”
The win was an impressive kneebar submission. It’s something he’d worked on right up to the fight. “I’m a black belt in jiu-jitsu, I use this for jiu-jitsu competitions. Also my brothers, their specialty is kneebars.” In his warm-up, he also broke out the kneebar. “The same knee bar, and then [it] works.”
“I’m not afraid to go to the ground, or stand up. We have a game [plan] for any situation,” Gomes added.
As to whether he feels ready for a shot at the UFC, “I’m ready,” Gomes answered, “but if they need one more fight, two, three, fights, we are here to fight. I’m going to get to the UFC one day. But I’m not just looking to be a UFC fighter, I’m looking to be the best. Everyone says ‘I want to be a UFC champ, I want to be a UFC champ,’ but I don’t think they work like me. I work every day, twice a day. I respect everybody, but I think little by little, we get there.”
Watch our full post-fight interview with Leandro Gomes from LFA 74 above!