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Yoshihiro 'Sexyama' Akiyama trying to recruit 'The Korean Zombie' to ONE Championship

Yoshihiro 'Sexyama' Akiyama wants The korean Zombie to sign for ONE Championship
Yoshihiro 'Sexyama' Akiyama wants The korean Zombie to sign for ONE Championship
Andrew Whitelaw

Yoshihiro 'Sexyama' Akiyama dreams of putting together a star-studded ONE Championship show in South Korea, potentially featuring UFC fighter Chan Sung Jung. The 46-year-old is of both Japanese and Korean descent and is coming off of a memorable win against long-time rival Shinya Aoki at ONE: X.

The legendary judoka admitted to nearly tapping out twice in the first round, but held on to score an impressive knockout victory in the second. As well as praising the crowd's support for his resilience, 'Sexyama' said he needed to win so he could realize one of his dreams in the sport. He aspires to put together a landmark ONE Championship card in the country he represented at the 2001 Asian Championships.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, he said via a translator:

"As an athlete, I want to keep fighting. But I also want to help with a ONE Championship event in Korea. I want to help scout fighters and get fighters from Korea to ONE."

He added:

"In my mind there are three names. The Korean Zombie, Kim Dong Hyun who is still under contract with UFC and 'Mr Perfect', [who] is also still with the UFC. I want them to sign with ONE Championship. This is another target of mine."

The Osaka-native has a close relationship with 'The Korean Zombie' and says he's already spoken to him about moving to ONE. 'Sexyama' maintains that TKZ, whose real name is Chan Sung Jung, did show some interest but that they would need to talk more in depth about it.

The Korean star currently has his hands full as he will be challenging Alexander Volkanovski for the UFC featherweight title at UFC 273 this weekend. Akiyama is backing his friend to come out with the belt in what will be his first time competing for the strap since losing to Jose Aldo in 2013.


'Sexyama' says beating Shinya Aoki was happiest moment of his career

There was genuine bad blood in the lead-up to Akiyama's fight with Shinya Aoki. A 14-year-long rivalry reached breaking point when Aoki called him out at 'Road to ONE' in Japan last year. The bout itself could go down as a modern classic, with 'Sexyama' now boasting back-to-back knockout victories inside the cage.

"It was the happiest moment in my martial arts career. I haven't talked to Aoki yet. But I got a victory because I had an opponent like Aoki. So I really appreciate it and Aoki is my hero."
Yoshihiro Akiyama brought his 14-year rivalry with Shinya Aoki to a KNOCKOUT conclusion at ONE X!@akiyamayoshihir #ONEX #WeAreONE #ONEChampionship https://t.co/Rq0UeIM3bP

Despite the loss, Aoki currently retains his place as the No.3-ranked lightweight. 'Sexyama' stated that he has no interest in sticking around in what is a lower weight class than he's used to, and that he's also not comfortable challenging champion Ok Rae Yoon because he's Korean. The UFC veteran did, however, say that he was interested in having a crack at the welterweight title.

Watch the full Sporskeeda MMA exclusive below:

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Edited by C. Naik

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