DREAM Champion Shinya Aoki has been a staple at the lightweight rankings for quite some time now, but it looks like he is already planning to make an even bigger impact on a different division. Just less than 48 hours before his lightweight championship bout against Kotetsu Boku this Friday, the submission specialist has told BloodyElbow.com that he will be dropping down to featherweight regardless of the outcome at ONE FC 8.
“I will go to 145 lbs. I want to win all the world titles at featherweight,” Aoki tells us as he talked about his plans after this upcoming bout.
Evolve MMA coaches told us just two days before the weigh-in that the Japanese standout weighed in at 71.5 kg for his lightweight bout, which meant he wouldn’t even need to cut much water weight to make tomorrow’s 70 kg limit.
“Heath, Shinya and I have talked about this for the last year or so, and all three of us have decided that it is best for Shinya’s future,” said Chatri Sityodtong, the founder and one of the head coaches at Evolve MMA, “He can easily make 145. He is too small to be a lightweight, and he will be a huge featherweight. His body type at 145 is akin to Jon Jones with a huge wingspan and reach.”
Aoki is listed at 5-foot-11, and if he cleanly drops to featherweight, he could be one of the bigger and stronger guys in the division, an advantage that his coaches felt that he hasn’t for quite some time now. The move also makes sense for the team as it creates a clearer path to the title for Shinya’s other 155 lb teammates such as Zorobabel Moreira and Eddie Ng.
The “Master of Flying Submissions” will fight for the promotion’s lightweight crown this Friday, and win or lose, it looks like he will also be gunning for that featherweight crown which will be defended at ONE FC 9 next month.
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