“It will push me forward significantly” - Saygid Izagakhmaev says beating Shinya Aoki will boost his career

Saygid Izagakhmaev and Shinya Aoki [Photo Credits: ONE Championship]
Saygid Izagakhmaev and Shinya Aoki [Photo Credits: ONE Championship]

Russian contender Saygid Izagakhmaev will be hunting for the third win of his ONE Championship career when he steps into the circle at ONE 163 on November 19 to face Asian MMA legend Shinya Aoki.

Sitting down with ONE Championship to discuss his bout with the former lightweight world champion, Saygid Izagakhmaev spoke about the legacy of ‘Tobikan Judan’ and what a win over an icon like him would do for his own career:

“He’s a veteran of this sport and a former ONE World Champion, so a win over a fighter like Aoki will push me forward significantly. It will be a huge win for all our team.”

As the No.4-ranked lightweight in ONE, a win over another top-ranked fighter like Aoki would not only keep Izagakhmaev undefeated under the ONE banner, it would likely push him towards the front of the line for a lightweight world title shot against the reigning champion, Christian Lee.

A win for Shinya Aoki would put him back into the world title conversation for the first time in years. The aging legend will face a tough task in putting away a Khabib Nurmagomedov protege who is just as dangerous on his feet as he is on the mat.


Saygid Izagakhmaev expects a title shot with a win over Shinya Aoki at ONE 163

Saygid Izagakhmaev will expect nothing less than a world title fight with Christian Lee should he walk out of ONE 163 with a win over Japanese MMA icon Shinya Aoki.

“If I win the upcoming fight – and I’ll win it, Inshallah – I will challenge the champion of our division. Christian Lee has beaten everybody [else], but he knows who he hasn’t beaten.”

With Izagakhmaev sitting in the No.4 spot in the rankings and Aoki at No.5, a victory over ‘Tobikan Judan’ will likely do little to change the number next to his name. However, Izagakhmaev will be just one of two in the top five rankings that Christian Lee has not already faced or defeated.

Lee defeated Aoki to capture the lightweight crown in 2019. Five months after that victory, Lee delivered perhaps the best performance of his career, defeating Dagi Arslanaliev via unanimous decision. Most recently, he defeated Ok Rae Yoon, the No.1-ranked contender, in dominant fashion to recapture the lightweight title.

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Edited by Allan Mathew
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