Shinya Aoki has finished his opponent in four of his last five MMA bouts, and that’s one of the reasons why he won’t be back to the featherweight division again in the future.
One of the best lightweight fighters outside the UFC, Aoki puts his One FC title on the line against UFC and WEC veteran Kamal Shalorus on Aug. 29 in Dubai, UAE, and he feels good to be back to One FC in his original weight class after a decision win over Cody Stevens in a featherweight bout last October.
"I’m very comfortable competing in the lightweight division. I wasn’t too pleased at how I performed at featherweight," Aoki told MMAFighting.com. "I wasn’t too comfortable competing at featherweight and the weight cut didn’t go the way that I had planned. I’m very comfortable competing in the lightweight division so I hope to stay there."
"I’m definitely looking forward to facing Shalorus and I’m sure that the both of us will give a ‘Fight of the Night’ performance and get the One FC fans really excited," he said. "Shalorus is a good fighter and I have a lot of respect for him both inside and outside the cage. I’m sure that we will give the fans in Dubai a fight to remember."
Aoki plans to add another finish to his record at One FC 19, as he feels he’s capable of that after watching Sharolus tap to Rafael dos Anjos and Khabib Nurmagomedov in his last UFC bouts. However, going for the knockout is also a possibility.
"I picked my first knockout victory against Antonio McKee at Dream 18 a couple of years back, and I’ve also won many of my previous fights via submission," he said. "I feel that my striking ability has definitely improved since joining the Evolve Fight Team and training alongside so many muay thai and boxing world champions. Regardless, I’m always looking to finish the fight."
Aoki hasn’t lost a MMA bout since April 2012, when he fought Eddie Alvarez in Bellator, but a recent trip to the grappling world didn’t end well. Kron Gracie became the first man to submit Aoki with a guillotine choke at Metamoris, and the MMA veteran is open to a rematch.
"If there were another chance to compete against Kron Gracie I would definitely jump at the chance of doing so," he said. "I have a lot of respect for both him and the Gracie family and competing against them will only help me to improve myself further."
Kron Gracie is expected to make his MMA debut later this year or early 2015, and Aoki would also welcome a rematch with the Gracie under MMA rules.
"I’m sure that Kron and myself will put up a good match to be honest," he said.
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