Japanese submission specialist Shinya Aoki is in a rare class: He rejected the UFC.
Aoki has decided to stick with his current promotion OneFC, rather than sign with the UFC, the biggest mixed martial arts promotion in the world.
“OneFC has taken care of me,” Aoki told Yahoo! on Thursday. “They’ve treated me well. I know the fighters there and I’m comfortable in OneFC. I think I have more to gain from fighting there.”
Aoki, 34-6, is known for his thrilling submissions seemingly out of nowhere. He has won 22 of his matches by submission and defeated the likes of Lyle Beerbohm, Eddie Alvarez and Tatsuya Kawajiri. Although Aoki has failed in his biggest matches, losing by decision to UFC lightweight contender and former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez and by knockout in his second fight with Eddie Alvarez, Aoki is highly regarded for his unusual style and Jiu-Jitsu.
Aoki last fought in October against Cody Stevens, winning by decision. Aoki has won his last four fights. He hasn’t lost since March of 2012, when he was surprisingly KO’d by Alvarez, in Aoki’s final fight in Bellator.
The Japanese fighter has proven to be more successful fighting outside of the United States. In three fights in America, Aoki has lost two of them, to Melendez and Alvarez. Aoki has enjoyed a good run in OneFC so far. He won the OneFC lightweight championship earlier this year.
Aoki plans a permanent drop to featherweight and make a run at the gold, but first he plans one more fight at lightweight, on New Year’s Eve when he will collide with Toshikatzu Harada on the Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2013 card in Tokyo, Japan.