ONE Championship Lightweight World Champion and Submission Specialist Shinya Aoki recently spoke to BJJEE.com.
Aoki is expected to defend his title against Eduard Folayang at ONE Championship: Defending Honor on November 11, 2016 in Singapore.
Aoki is noted for being the DREAM Lightweight Champion, ONE Lightweight Champion, former WAMMA Lightweight Champion and former Shooto Welterweight Champion. Aoki is an A-class Shoot wrestler (aka Catch wrestler) and BJJ black belt, both under his long-term mentor Yuki Nakai, as well as a black belt judoka. As well as his MMA credentials, Aoki has garnered several submission grappling accolades including two All Japan Jiu-Jitsu Championships, a Japan Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship, a Budo Open Championship, and an ADCC Japan Championship.
You’ve been competing in MMA and dominating for years. What is it that keeps you going? What is it that keeps you motivated?
I just enjoy winning and getting better. As a martial artist I am always trying to improve every aspects of myself, continuously getting better. As long as I feel like I am, I will compete.
You are once again defending your ONE Championship Lightweight World Championship at ONE: Defending Honor in Singapore on November 11th, how have you prepared for this fight?
As usual I am doing my fight camp here at Evolve MMA in Singapore with all the World Champions and my teammates on the Evolve Fight Team. I have been training at Evolve for many years now and I keep improving my all around game and feel very prepared every time I step in the cage. Being able to train with World Champions in Muay Thai, Boxing, BJJ, and MMA everyday, makes sure every training session is tough.
You’ve faced strikers before, what’s different about Eduard Folayang?
Eduard Folayang is a good fighter. I don’t think he is very different to other opponents I have faced. He does have a Wushu style which thought that not many people have, so that is one thing that makes him a little different.
After keeping the ONE Lightweight Belt for over 3 years, what’s the next step for Shinya Aoki?
I am enjoying being the ONE Lightweight World Champion and aim to be for many years. ONE Championship is growing very fast and I am excited to see it continue to do so. The events and shows are getting better and better.
You have 3 young sons. What do you tell them when they ask what you do for a living?
My sons understand what I do for a living. They like to watch me on TV when I fight.
How did you earn the nick name Tobikan Judan?
The Japanese mass media gave me the nick name, it means the Grand Master of Flying Submissions.
How do you see openings for those crazy submissions?
It’s hard to say. I don’t really plan them, they just happen. All the hard work is done in the training sessions before the fight. Hours of rolling help me know the right moment to go for them.
How did you start working with Eddie Bravo? How did you decide to start using the rubber guard in MMA?
I started working with Eddie Bravo in 2005. I started using some of his 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu techniques, like the rubber guard, around 2006. After learning and understanding it, I decided to start using the rubber guard as it is effective for MMA, allowing me to maintain good control of my opponent.
How do you work on your flexibility for grappling?
I don’t specifically work on flexibility. I just train and roll a lot.
Would you like to compete in grappling competitions again? Who are some grapplers you would like to face?
I am always open to competing in grappling competitions. There are many good grapplers out there at the moment that I would like to face. People like Garry Tonon, Marcin Held, and Eddie Cummings are guys I would like to face.
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