Shinya Aoki silences retirement talks following ONE 165 win

By BJPENN.COM Staff - January 30, 2024

Shinya Aoki has made it clear that he’s not ready to call it quits just yet.

Shinya Aoki

This comes on the heels of Aoki’s first-round submission victory over former ONE Bantamweight MMA World Champion John Lineker in their openweight bout at ONE 165 this past weekend.

Leading up to his homecoming matchup at Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan, there were murmurs that this might be the Japanese legend’s final fight.

However, “Tobikan Judan” dispelled those talks with a convincing performance. He demonstrated his grappling prowess and secured the win via rear-naked choke.

Aoki basked in the glory of his recent triumph. However, he acknowledged that he is now approaching the tail-end of his remarkable career.

“Being 40 years old, I honestly don’t know how long I can keep this up. But I’d still like to keep competing, but not at this top level,” he said.

“To compete at this level, I had to train every day, so hard, and I was very strict with myself as I was preparing to fight Sage Northcutt, who really is one of the top fighters.”

Aoki was initially slated to face Sage Northcutt at ONE 165, but fate had other plans.

In a surprising turn of events, Northcutt had to pull out of the matchup at the last minute. His coaches had visa problems that prevented them from attending the affair.

This unforeseen circumstance led to Lineker stepping in as a replacement, turning the bout into an openweight contest.

The sudden change in opponents undoubtedly took Aoki on an emotional roller coaster, but the seasoned veteran had to quickly gather himself for the task at hand.

“[It] was the first time ever that I lost an opponent [before the fight], and I was on the verge of tears. But then I had to pinch right back into fight mode for a different opponent,” he said.

Shinya Aoki cherishes triumph at ONE 165

Reflecting on his outing at ONE 165, Shinya Aoki expressed satisfaction with his performance against John Lineker.

“I want to say that I’m really satisfied with my performance. I can say that I displayed a great show of martial arts and got the job done,” he said.

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


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