Shinya Aoki Confirms Fight with Eddie Alvarez and Talks About Why He’s Not in the UFC

September 28, 2011
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Shinya Aoki at Evolve MMA

Fresh off his latest win over Rob McCullough in Dream, top five lightweight Shinya Aoki believes he is more dangerous than ever before.

Why you ask?

Because for the last few months, Aoki has been traveling to Singapore to work with Evolve MMA where he’s been working on his striking and Muay Thai skills, and he believes that helped lead him to his first round submission last weekend.

“I thought it was a great fight. I did a lot of stand up training at Evolve MMA (in Singapore). So it gave me even more confidence to execute our game plan,” Aoki told on Wednesday. “My coaches (Chatri Sityodtong, Yuki Nakai, and Ryo Chonan) asked me to apply forward pressure to make Rob backpedal before taking him down to use my ground game. Actually, for the first time, I was unafraid to stand and strike because of my Muay Thai training.”

In the past, Aoki’s ground game has been so dominant that he’s never really had to strike very much, but with the ever evolving game of MMA, the Baka Survivor knows that to get to the top of the ladder he has to get better or die.

Now that the win over McCullough is over, Aoki is already looking to the future. His next fight will be on New Year’s Eve as he revealed exclusively to, but he just isn’t sure who he’s facing next.

“Yes, that is correct,” Aoki said about the New Year’s Eve card in Japan “But I still don’t know my opponent.”

In his home country of Japan, Aoki has seen many ups and downs in the MMA scene due to financial problems and promotion issues, but it’s been compounded by the devastating earthquake that caused so much damage there earlier this year.

The Dream lightweight champion admits that it’s sad to see what’s happening in his home country, but for his own career he knows that eventually he’ll probably have to begin fighting more in the U.S.
MMA in Japan is going through a difficult phase. However, I am a fighter. So all I can do is to do my best. I’d like to fight in the US because it is the biggest stage,” Aoki stated.

He also says that while Dream and other promotions have done their best, it’s hard to see any other organization rising up to the levels that Pride Fighting Championships once held in Japan.

“It is hard,” Aoki said. “It is very hard to see that happening.”

While Aoki’s next fight will take place in Japan later this year, he does have plans to return to the United States in 2012. As a matter of fact, Aoki says if it wasn’t for his family back home, to which he recently added a new baby, he’d be in the UFC right now.

“If I didn’t have a family, then I would go to the UFC right now,” said Aoki. “However, I have a family. MMA in Japan is a complicated situation. It’s not in my control.”

One fight that Aoki knows for sure will happen in 2012 is his rematch with current Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez. Aoki defeated Alvarez by heel hook at the New Year’s Even show in Japan in 2008.

“Yes, I will fight him next year,” Aoki confirmed about the Alvarez fight. “I am looking forward to it.”

As far as what else is out there for Aoki, he just plans on keeping busy and training harder with his new team at Evolve MMA. While he states he will fight anyone, anywhere, Aoki’s work ethic make him believe this is the best version any of his future opponents will see when they step in the ring or cage with him.

“Ever since I joined the Evolve Fight Team at Evolve MMA in Singapore, my overall game has improved tremendously. You will see a brand new Shinya Aoki in the future – the best ever is coming,” Aoki stated.

Aoki also sent a heartfelt thank you to North American fans who continue to support his career, even if he’s fighting overseas. The Japanese submission machine has every intention of coming back to the United States in 2012 to lay his claim on the top spot in the lightweight division.

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  • “If I didn’t have a family, then I would go to the UFC right now,” said Aoki. “However, I have a family. MMA in Japan is a complicated situation. It’s not in my control.”

    Would he really have to be away from his family that much to be in the UFC? He can train in Japan for months and then spend one or maybe two weeks in the US before the fight.

    Unless he means the Yakuza threatened to murder his family if he fights in the UFC. That makes more sense.

  • “If I didn’t have a family, then I would go to the UFC right now,” said Aoki. What a subtle way to say he is too scared.

    • TraumaVictim

      Yeah the best submission grappler in MMA w/34 fights under his belt is probably just scared.
      My god you UFC fans are shameless & pathetic.

      • ajmadic

        Why do you have to be a “UFC” fan to believe that? Maybe not “scared”, but he def knows in his heart he can’t beat a Maynard, Edgar, Melendez, etc. Aoki is good, but not excellent. He will never be a UFC champ, guaranteed.

      • This “UFC fanboy” shit has to stop because it doesnt make any fucking sense. I’m a fanboy of good fighters. Guess what? They are all in the UFC. That’s not my opinion, that’s everyones opinion. Go to every single Top 10 list on the internet and the majority of fighters will all be UFC. You can post your Top 10 here that doesnt have mostly UFC and we will see how retarded you are.

        Now lets objectively look at Mr. Aoki. You say he has 34 fights. Who gives a shit. Travis Fulton has THREE HUNRED AND FIVE fights! Fulton is the best MMA fighter ever! He can beat everyone in the UFC! That’s according to your reasoning. But the reality is Fulton sucks because he doesnt fight good fighters. Your record only matters based on WHO you fight. Aoki is 1-1 against top 10 fighters. The other 8 top ten guys? ALL IN THE UFC. Logical fact-based conclusion: Aoki won’t be shit until he fights in the UFC, because that is where the competition is.

        So us “UFC fans” aren’t the biased ones, you are, UFC hater.

        • ajmadic

          Amen, uncanny. Amen.

        • RealmmaFan

          “im a fan of good fighters guess what there all in the UFC” that right there fagget makes you a biased UFC nuthugger…

      • clarkw90

        I agree with TraumaVictim. Not all the good fighters are in the UFC. Remember when Strikeforce was independent of the UFC? Nick Diaz, Alistair Overeem, Gilbert Melendez, y’all were like who have they fought, they ain’t crap. Now all of a sudden, after the UFC signed them, they are the best. Let’s have a test here, I say Eddie Alvarez and Hector Lombard can beat the top ranked UFC fighters in their respective divisions. Now, let’s see how many UFC converts you say they won’t get by. How many of them will be named as “they won’t get by so and so” because they haven’t fought the caliber of UFC person? Guaranteed you’ll name some UFC fighters now that weren’t UFC fighters before, and they sucked, but now since they are in the UFC, they are the “best”. UFC has y’all brainwashed. Roll the HATE!

  • sc_c6db7c34fa0b007eee176072a198667f

    or does he mean that if he signed with the UFC the yakuza gangsters connected with dream would hur t his family? I always assumed that cou.d be a factor for fedor with m1

  • TraumaVictim

    Aoki is fine where he is w/Dream in Japan and he knows it.
    He’s being politically correct even acknowledging interest in the UFC.
    His rematch w/Eddie Alvarez will be the biggest fight in Bellator’s short history by far.
    Wouldn’t happen if he were tied down w/a one sided Zuffa contract.
    Thank goodness he is not.

  • jared499

    I have to agree that when I read this article I became a little troubled by the remark about it being out of his control in Japan. Something not right there.

    To everyone talking about him not being a great fighter, we will not find out until he fights the level of fighters that are considered by most to be top-level. And Uncanny390 is correct in his statement that all the top fighters, especially in that weight class are in Zuffa (UFC/SF). But I would like to see him fight some of these guys. A lot of these guys are starting to focus on their standup and Aoki is one of those guys that can end fights on the ground, and is always looking to end with submissions.

  • grimsgrind

    I would love to see Aoki in the UFC…What’s with all the hate? Just watch the fights you nerds.