Submission specialist Shinya Aoki is as slick as fighters come on the ground, racking up 22 tap-outs in his career including finishes of Joachim Hansen, Rich Clementi, and Eddie Alvarez. Though many fans aren’t familiar with Aoki’s abilities based on the bulk of his work taking place in Japan, hardcore enthusiasts have been following the 29-year old dating back to his run in PRIDE if not longer.
Aoki currently calls Asian promotion ONE FC home where he recently became the organization’s lightweight champion. Though the “Tobikan Judan” plans to put his gold up for grabs a number of times, he recently revealed he has contemplated a drop down to 145 pounds if it means furthering his career and his coaches are on board.
“It is an honor for me to be the ONE FC champion and I am proud to bring the belt back to my team at Evolve MMA,” explained Aoki in an interview with MMAMania. “I want to face the best fighters in the world, and if that means moving down to featherweight then I am willing to try to do that, but now I am thinking about keeping this belt and defending it many times, not giving it up.”
“For me, making 155 pounds is no problem and I have talked to Chatri Sityodtong and Heath Sims and the team at Evolve MMA and I think it would be possible to fight at 145 pounds,” he concluded. “I am ready to face any fighter in the world and if ONE FC wants me to fight in a different division, I will talk to my team and we will decide if it is possible or not.”
The colorful competitor is 33-6 in his career with wins in 13 of his last 15 fights (and the losses coming to Gilbert Melendez/Alvarez). ONE FC’s next card is set for May 31 in Manila, Philippines. Though Aoki is not scheduled for the show, featherweight title-holder Honorio Banario will put his belt on the line against Koji Oishi in headlining action.
PHOTO CREDIT – MMAWEEKLY