Shinya Aoki is the epitome of the fighting spirit and former opponent Eddie Alvarez recognized that on social media this week. Following his grappling loss to Kade Ruotolo at ONE 157, the ONE Championship Twitter account posted a clip from an Aoki interview where he talked about his desire to compete in both MMA and submission grappling.
“I want to do everything, be it grappling or MMA. I will never decline a fight offer. I will always accept new challenges. This is my style. So I will do both MMA and grappling. I don’t really care how many wins I have, whether it’s 47 or 50. I just want to stay motivated every single day and put on good performances.”
The post got some love from former UFC lightweight champion and current ONE competitor Eddie Alvarez, who posted three heart emojis in response.
Fans immediately took notice and expressed interest in seeing Alvarez and Aoki complete their long-overdue trilogy bout.
One fan in particular tagged Alvarez and wrote on Twitter: “Would love to see a third fight between you and Aoki!"
The History of Eddie Alvarez vs. Shinya Aoki
To revisit the history of Eddie Alvarez and Shinya Aoki, you have to go back almost 15 years to their first bout at Dynamite!! 2008 in Saitama, Japan. Co-promoted under the K-1 and DREAM banners, Alvarez and Aoki fought for the WAMMA lightweight championship. Aoki only needed 92 seconds to lock in a heel hook, forcing Alvarez to tap out.
Fast forward four years later, the two would finally have their rematch. This time under the Bellator MMA banner, at Bellator 66. This time, Alvarez would come out on top, getting the victory via TKO less than halfway into the first round.
Aoki has expressed interest in completing the trilogy with Alvarez. For many years, it seemed impossible as Alvarez was signed to the UFC and had become their lightweight champion. Now with both fighters under ONE Championship, they could find themselves staring across the cage from one another in the future.
"I'm the one who knows how strong Eddie is, because I've fought him twice," Aoki said while speaking to MMA Fighting. "I'm not surprised at all. He's an amazing fighter. It's normal that he's still fighting at a high level."