“I think that’s in the past.”
Both legends have been trash talking for years but never met competitively until a few months back at ONE X, which took place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, with 'Sexyama' winning with an incredible upset via TKO with punches.
In the lead-up to this contest, 'Tobikan Judan' told ONE Championship in March that the origin of their feud was “brewing” since 2008.
“The story starts from a connection in 2008, but the situation then and the situation now is completely different. Our positions and status are different too, so I’m not too concerned with that. Simply, there was a promotion called DREAM. Within that, I didn’t like when there was someone who only thought of themselves.
However, it seems like Shinya Aoki is turning the page on their long-standing feud. The 39 year-old grappler addressed this in a recent interview with Dylan Bowker, saying:
“It’s all part of the job, part of the game. I see it as part of the job, so I think that’s in the past and it’s not exactly what everyone makes it out to be.”
Listen to the full clip below:
MMA fans would argue that it was just a publicity stunt to promote an epic showdown between the two Japanese titans. Nevertheless, Shinya Aoki succeeded in creating a massive following for the promotional matchup.
Shinya Aoki as the "bad guy" leading up to ONE X
It was evident that Akiyama was the fan favorite leading up to ONE X since Shinya Aoki had already set himself up as the "bad guy" in this matchup.
The history behind it stems from Aoki’s epic call-out of 'Sexyama' at "Road to ONE: 'Sexyama' Edition" in Japan, where Akiyama was the guest commentator. Shinya Aoki grabbed the microphone in WWE fashion and confronted his rival, bellowing the following words:
“Akiyama is this cool-looking guy. It’s either you become cool based on the amazing things you do or accomplish, or be cool with the lavish things in life. I find this interesting. It’s what you are based on, I suppose. It’s quite superficial. Even if you dress up or act cool, in the end, there is only the real deal.”
The submission specialist might want to put the past behind him, but fans will never fail to remind him about the bad blood that existed between the two legends. It's definitely going to be in the history books as one of the greatest call-outs in ONE Championship history.
Re-watch the explosive call-out here: