Shinya Aoki uses fear as motivation in title defense vs Folayang
SINGAPORE – Japanese fighter Shinya Aoki has long been considered as the most dominant lightweight mixed martial arts (MMA) competitor in Asia for the better part of the last decade.
Aoki had 46 professional matches and holds an imposing prizefighting record of 39-6 with 25 wins by way of submission.
The 33-year-old Japanese veteran strutted his stuff in various MMA promotions such as ONE Championship, DREAM, Bellator, Strikeforce, and Shooto.
Despite his multiple accolades and experience in the sport, Aoki revealed that fear plays a pivotal role in bringing out the best in him.
While many competitors traditionally claim to have conquered fear through the years, Aoki embraces it, as the need to survive is what drives him most when he steps inside the cage.
“The only thing I feel right now is the fear,” he said. “I have been fighting since 2003 and I have experienced losses and fought in crazy environments. I know the fear and how to survive. I have the experiences I've been and lived through, which will help me a lot this time.”
Aoki is set to defend his ONE Championship lightweight title for the third time against Filipino stalwart Eduard Folayang in the main event of the “Defending Honor” card, which takes place at the 12,000-capacity Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore on Friday, November 11.
Although Aoki is coming into the schedule 5-round encounter against Folayang as the heavy favorite, he does not mind if his impressive winning streak will end at the hands of his Filipino foe.
Known by his cage moniker “Tobikan Judan” or “The Grandmaster of Flying Submissions” due to his spectacular submission victories, Aoki has been undefeated since October 2012 and has compiled 9-straight victories.
“That’s not very important for me. If I fight against someone stronger than me, I will lose. That’s fighting. It’s very simple, you fight someone stronger than you, and you lose. So whatever happens happens. I don’t think deeply on that,” Aoki stated.
“There is no room in my mind to think about continuing my winning streak. That’s how much I am scared of the next fight. A person who talks about winning streaks is people who have never experienced fighting. Someone who has fought before are scared of every single moment,” he added.
Having a tough opposition in front of him, Aoki admitted that he is fully aware of Folayang’s career resurgence inside the ONE Championship cage, outclassing Japanese veteran Tetsuya Yamada in 3 rounds in January and then surviving a grueling encounter with Australian stalwart Adrian Pang in August.
Following the ups and downs that Folayang went through in his illustrious 9-year prizefighting career, he managed to reinvent himself by transitioning from a pure striker to an all-around MMA fighter.
As seen in his last two ONE Championship outings, Folayang displayed on-point sprawls and his ability to sinuously execute sweeps and guards, as well as his sturdy top control on the mat.
“I’ve seen many of his fight, I have seen it live also. He’s more of a striker. He has good striking and recently he has picked up MMA. If I have to point it out, it’s his striking skills,” Aoki said of Folayang.
Aoki, who claims to be a man who is driven by fear, stressed that the unpleasant emotion of being scared is lacking in Folayang.
“He hasn’t experienced more fear than me,” he quipped.
When asked if he has a message for Folayang, Aoki responded, “I’m sorry, but I currently don’t have enough room in my mind to yell at my opponent. I will try my best to go into the fight with good condition. So likewise I hope you prepare for the fight well." – Rappler.com