Just a year ago, George Sotiropoulos was looked upon as a future UFC lightweight contender, having reeled off seven consecutive wins highlighted by a submission victory over Joe Lauzon.

However, back-to-back losses including a stunning decision defeat against Dennis Siver in his native country of Australia, have the 34-year old on the brink of being released by the UFC. Now it looks like Sotiropoulos will get his chance to fight for his career when he meets Takanori Gomi at UFC 144 in February in Gomi’s native country of Japan.

Sotiropoulos entered the UFC off an appearance on the Ultimate Fighter where he was defeated in the semifinals by Tommy Speer. The Aussie went on to earn submission victories over Billy Miles, George Roop, and Jason Dent before taking another step up in competition. In 2010, Sotiropoulos topped Joe Stevenson, Kurt Pellegrino, and Lauzon to become a potential challenger to the UFC 155-pound belt. Fighting in Sydney, Australia against Siver, Sotiropoulos was off his game and was dealt an Unanimous Decision defeat. He followed that up with a loss to Rafael dos Anjos earlier this year by knockout.

“The Fireball Kid” will also be looking for a much-needed win in Saitama Super Arena after being submitted in three of his last four fights.

UFC 144 will feature a main event pitting UFC lightweight champ Frankie Edgar against Benson Henderson. The Gomi-Sotiropoulos bout is slated for the preliminary card.


MMATraining Take: This is a total loser-leaves-town match, as both men have fallen down the pecking order in the stacked 155-pound division. Gomi will have the advantage of competing in front of his country, but don’t count out Sotiropoulos just yet. He has plenty of experience fighting before hostile crowd.