Somewhat annoyed that he hasn’t been able to fight since April this year, ‘Tobikan Judan’ Shinya Aoki is looking forward to a handful of big fights on the horizon.
The multi-time former ONE lightweight world champion has been trying to make fights with UFC veterans Yoshihiro Akiyama and Sage Northcutt for the past few months, but nothing has come to fruition as of yet. The 38-year-old legend feels time is quickly running out and wants to fight as many times as he can, for as long as he is still able.
One big fight that could also potentially be in the works for Shinya Aoki is against reigning ONE lightweight world champion Ok Rae Yoon.
At 30 years of age, Ok is his physical prime. This year, he’s taken out legend after legend, earning himself a cult following and the nickname ‘Legend Killer’. Ok took care of business against former ONE featherweight world champion Marat Gafurov in early April and then, weeks later, outpointed former UFC champion Eddie Alvarez.
Then, just last September, Ok captured the lightweight strap when he became the first man to defeat Christian Lee in nearly three years.
Shinya Aoki, on the other hand, has won four straight, including three impressive submission victories over highly-regarded opponents James Nakashima, Eduard Folayang and Honorio Banario. It proves that even at 38, Shinya Aoki is as dangerous as ever.
Speaking to ONE Championship about his career moving forward and about a potential matchup against Ok, Shinya Aoki said:
“It doesn’t matter who I fight, as long as I can get a match. I want this fight, for sure. But ONE Championship needs to make it happen. We will only find out who is the better fighter, or if I can beat him, if we fight. We need to settle things in the Circle. People may think that older fighters don’t want to fight many matches in a year, but I’ve always wanted to fight. I’ve never turned down an offer. I want to fight as many times as I can, but I haven’t gotten a fight offer since April. I’m waiting.”
However, ‘Tobikan Judan’, in the same breath, also said that winning ONE gold isn’t a priority for him anymore. He just wants to put on fights fans want and bouts that will allow him to further test his abilities
“At this stage in my career, I don’t care much about winning the title anymore. I don’t fight and compete in martial arts because I want the belt. I’m doing this because I love it, I enjoy it. I want to test myself against the best. That being said, I hope this fight can be arranged soon.”
Shinya Aoki bares thoughts on Ok-Lee controversy
Like many, Shinya Aoki watched idly by as Ok Rae Yoon shocked the world with a unanimous decision victory over Christian Lee at ONE: Revolution. Ok captured the belt behind an impressive display of crisp striking and profound takedown defense.
Many fans who witnessed the five-round war thought Lee had done just enough to retain his title and that the decision should have been read the other way around. The judges obviously called the fight differently.
Shinya Aoki, however, points out the problem with that. The 38-year-old shared his thoughts on the decision:
“I think we all feel the problem when the judges announce the winner and when we say ‘the real winner.’ We have to respect the judges’ decision, but if you ask me who I thought won the fight, it will only make the story more complicated. They both fought hard.”
Shinya Aoki, now ranked No. 2 in the division, is in a fantastic position to really shake things up.
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The first time Shinya Aoki captured the ONE lightweight world title, it was against South Korean star Kotetsu Boku in 2013. Now, more than eight years later, things could come full circle for Shinya Aoki. He’s in the best position to take the belt once again, from another South Korean dynamo.