LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Earlier today Ulysses "Useless" Gomez signed with the UFC, after agreeing to step up on short notice to replace an injured Ian McCall at UFC on FOX 4 - Shogun vs. Vera, which is set to take place in less than 2 weeks at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
This will be a homecoming of sorts for the affable Cobra Kai Jiu-Jitsu brown belt, who is known to many by his nickname "Useless" (just check his license plate). Gomez was born in Los Angeles and his older brother Herculez used to play for the MLS team L.A. Galaxy from 2002-2006. Herculez is also a regular on the U.S. National Soccer team.
After relocating with his family to Las Vegas at an early age, Gomez was introduced to jiu-jitsu in high school. Gomez's high school wrestling coach was none other than UFC veteran and grappling legend Tony DeSouza, who is a friend and training partner of fellow Nova União jiu-jitsu black belt Marc Laimon. This was at the turn of the century when Gomez was still a teenager and Laimon was still an instructor at J-Sect. Gomez decided to check it out and the rest is history.
In 2004, Gomez helped Marc Laimon found the world famous Cobra Kai Academy in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he taught the children's classes for years and has been training ever since. Around this time, Gomez actually gained urban legend status on MMA and Jiu-Jitsu internet message boards due to his prankster personality combined with the fact that he was successfully competing on the grappling circuit. He would regularly enter himself in advanced divisions as a beginner and began submitting larger black belts shortly after receiving his blue belt in jiu-jitsu.
In college, Gomez also competed on the UNLV boxing team from 2005-2006 and in June 2007, Gomez participated in the inaugural FILA Grappling Trials in Las Vegas. Three months later, he became the first American to win the FILA Pankration World Championships, which took place in Antalya, Turkey.
The following year, at age 24, Gomez decided to take the next logical step in his combat sports career. He made his professional MMA debut at PFC 7 in March 2008. He submitted his opponent Greg McDowell in 41 seconds with a Rear Naked Choke. Four months later, Gomez would submit Hector Sandoval in 51 seconds with an Armbar. After dropping a decision to world-ranked and highly-regarded Muay Thai stalwart Rambaa Somdet later that year, Gomez would win his next 5 bouts, win the Tachi Palace Fights (TPF) flyweight title, and remain unbeaten throughout 2009 and 2010.
After closing out 2010 with a decision win in his debut at bantamweight (135-pounds) in the Bellator "Season 3" tournament, Gomez would return to the TPF flyweight (125-pound) division to defend his title. He would lose the title in a 5-round war against Darrell Montague in February 2011 and would once again move up to bantamweight. That is where he rebounded by defeating Drew Bittner last summer via Rear Naked Choke. He followed that win with a third round Guillotine Choke win over Cody Gibson to win the vacant TPF bantamweight title in December of 2011.
The UFC then made a motherload of an announcement, which flyweights had been waiting to hear ever since the Zuffa-owned WEC days. They announced they would be establishing a flyweight division. This allowed Gomez and his fellow flyweights the chance they had been hoping for. No longer forced to find fights at bantamweight, Gomez now looks to return to the flyweight division on the biggest stage of them all in the UFC.
Gomez (9-2) will face fellow UFC newcomer John Moraga (10-1) at UFC on FOX 4 - Shogun vs. Vera. Moraga fights out of Arizona Combat Sports and is fresh off his win over Maurice Senters last month, which earned him the Rage in the Cage bantamweight title. UFC on FOX 4 takes place on Saturday, August 4th. Gomez vs. Moraga is expected to take place on the undercard, which will be televised on Fuel TV.
Many of Gomez's grappling and jiu-jitsu highlights can be found in the OTM Video Library, as well as classic OTM DVD's, such as the "101 Submissions" trilogy and "Grapplebook". Gomez was also seen regularly in live grappling and jiu-jitsu demonstrations with Marc Laimon and Sim Go between fights during some of Zuffa's first UFC pay-per-view broadcasts, so in a way, Gomez grew up with the UFC and August 4th will just make it official. Good luck to Ulysses "Useless" Gomez from everyone at OTM!