ONE Championship superstar and Japanese martial arts legend Shinya Aoki is celebrating 10 years with the promotion. Making his debut on October 6, 2012, ‘Tobikan Judan’ has delivered fans memorable moments, iconic fights, and a legendary trilogy over the last decade of excellence.
The trilogy, of course, came against another ONE Championship icon in Eduard ‘Landslide’ Folayang. Sharing the circle on three separate occasions, Shinya Aoki expressed his respect for the fellow former ONE lightweight world champion during an interview with ONE Championship:
“He’s been leading Philippine MMA, and he’s been supporting ONE’s events in the Philippines even though he had to face tough opponents. He was the one leading the industry, and I really feel that we have the same spirit and mindset for this sport and ONE.”
Aoki, continued, saying:
“When I got an offer to fight with him for a trilogy, I said OK immediately and he was the same. You know, at this age and career, a lot of fighters might say ‘I don’t want to take that offer’. But we were not those kinds of fighters. So, I felt ‘Ah, this guy has passion and spirit.’”
Shinya Aoki will soon display his own passion and spirit at ONE 163 on November 19. ‘Tobikan Judan’ will face a tough task against rising lightweight contender Saygid Izagakhmaev. After winning his first two bouts under the ONE Championship banner, the Russian grappler will look to add a bonafide legend to his resume.
ONE CEO praises Shinya Aoki for never turning down an opponent
There are many reasons to praise a fighter like Shinya Aoki. ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong provided fans with another during his appearance at the ONE 163 press conference. Sityodtong shared his appreciation for Aoki and his willingness to take on everyone that the promotion throws at him inside the circle.
"I want to say that Shinya [Aoki] is one of the greatest fighters [to] ever come out from Japan. Truly a legend. And one thing I know about Shinya, I think I know him almost 15 years. And he’s a fighter who never says no to any fights. He accepts all opponents."
Following his ONE world title loss to Christian Lee in 2019, Aoki bounced back scoring three straight victories against Honorio Banario, James Nakashima, and his old rival, Eduard Folayang. His momentum was stopped in its tracks at ONE X in March, suffering a knockout loss to Yoshihiro Akiyama.
‘Tobikan Judan’ will look to get back into the win column against an incredibly tough opponent in Saygid Izagakhmaev at ONE 163.