Zhang Lipeng wants all the best lightweights in ONE, starting with Shinya Aoki

Zhang Lipeng (left), Shinya Aoki (right) [Photo: ONE Championship]
Zhang Lipeng (left), Shinya Aoki (right) [Photo: ONE Championship]

Chinese lightweight star Zhang Lipeng wants to follow up his incredible victory over former ONE lightweight world champion Eduard Folayang in his ONE Championship debut. He’s calling out all the top guys in the division, starting with another former lightweight king.

Zhang has been hot on Shinya Aoki’s tail since he arrived in the promotion. The 31-year-old wants to book a date with the No. 3-ranked lightweight contender and former two-time ONE lightweight world champion in the soonest possible time.

‘Tobikan Judan’ scoffed at the idea of facing Zhang, saying the former UFC veteran should “reconsider” it. Zhang recently responded in an interview with ONE Championship:

“I don’t think there is a need to reconsider. Actually, I want to fight against everyone, especially strong opponents. Maybe Shinya Aoki would feel humiliated if he accepted my challenge, since I just won one single match [in ONE so far].”

Zhang then went on to praise Aoki, detailing exactly why he wants to face the Japanese legend:

“I really want to fight against him because he is very high-level. I watched a lot of his matches. His wrestling and jiu-jitsu are very powerful, so I want to feel how strong he really is. I’ve also been training for over a decade, so I would like to battle with a world-class, elite [fighter] like him.”

Aoki isn’t the only fighter on Zhang’s hit list. There are a slew of other top lightweights in his crosshairs, including former lightweight kingpin Christian Lee and former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez:

“Of course, I still want to fight them. After all, Christian Lee is also a former champ. Alvarez is a former champ too, and he is the one I picked first because he enjoys a bigger reputation. I’m also his fan, and like Shinya Aoki, I also wanted to challenge him.”

Zhang Lipeng can’t underestimate who’s in front of him

Before Zhang can even think about facing the best of the top five in his division, he must get past his next opponent.

Zhang Lipeng is scheduled to face Ruslan Emilbek Uulu at ONE: Only the Brave, which happens Friday, January 28 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. It’s a pivotal lightweight matchup, with the winner looking to earn a crack against a ranked fighter in his next match.

Uulu is certainly no pushover, having scored an impressive victory over previously ranked lightweight Pieter Buist in his most recent fight. Zhang will without a doubt have his hands full with the Kyrgysztani ‘Snow Leopard'.

However, a victory here would ensure Zhang Lipeng climbs further up the rankings. Maybe then Aoki would reconsider a showdown with the Chinese star.

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Edited by John Cunningham
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