“I really want to have fun” - Shinya Aoki continues to enjoy his martial arts career as it heads to its twilight

Japanese fighting legend Shinya Aoki with arms raised
Japanese fighting legend Shinya Aoki with arms raised

Shinya Aoki opened up about enjoying his martial arts career after reaching his tenth anniversary with ONE Championship.

Aoki has fought in some of the most prestigious MMA promotions since turning pro in 2003. At 39, ‘Tobikan Judan’ is at the backend of his legendary career. While looking back at some of his most memorable moments with ONE Championship, the current No-5 ranked lightweight had this to say:

“For now, it’s still really fun, and I’m enjoying this sport. And I can still see my future as well. At training, I feel my energy is not as much compared to when I was younger. The thing I was able to do multiple times in one training a few years ago, I can only do once now. So, every single training is really precious for me and so fun. I want to have fun because I cannot do so many times. If I cannot enjoy this, I will quit. I really want to have fun and do good things.”

Aoki lost his last fight against 47-year-old Yoshihiro Akiyama, and the matchups aren’t getting easier. ‘Tobikan Judan’ is now matched up against the No.4 ranked Saygid Izagakhmaev, a talented Russian fighter looking to take over the division.

Watch Yoshihiro Akiyama beat Shinya Aoki below:

Yoshihiro Akiyama brought his 14-year rivalry with Shinya Aoki to a KNOCKOUT conclusion at ONE X!@akiyamayoshihir #ONEX #WeAreONE #ONEChampionship

Shinya Aoki believes he can express his strength in matchup against Saygid Izagakhmaev

There has already been some trash talk from Saygid Izagakhmaev about retiring Shinya Aoki. During the ONE 163 press conference, Aoki had this to say about his upcoming opponent:

“Saygid is a strong fighter. I believe outside of Christian Lee, Saygid is the most dangerous opponent in this lightweight division right now. But for me, it is more like fighting against myself. Fighting is to see how strong you are. That’s how I’ve been fighting for this long in my career. And I believe I can express my strength through this match as well."

Underestimating a fighter like Aoki would be a mistake by Izagakhmaev, regardless of the Japanese legend’s age. That said, 'Tobikan Judan' needs to be at his best to pull off an upset against the Russian rising contender.

New Year's Eve MemoriesShinya Aoki🇯🇵 vs Eddie Alvarez🇺🇸 I

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Edited by micah.curtis85
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