Shinya Aoki Battles His Inner Demons

Written by Tom Ngo
April 15th, 2010

Dream Lightweight Champion Shinya Aoki

As spectacular a mixed martial artist as Shina Aoki is, the Japanese sensation is equally the sport’s biggest enigma. While known for his boisterous personality and colorful attire, there’s a dark side to Aoki that he’s not always able to tame.

He owns an impressive 23-4 professional record and has finished 14 of those via submission. Aoki’s last victory was by far his most controversial after his inner “demon” erupted on Mizuto Hirota at “Dynamite!! 2009” this past New Year’s Eve.

The jiu jitsu wizard caught Hirota in a hammerlock in the opening ticks of their matchup. Although Aoki probably/most likely/definitely knew he was in position to break Hirota’s arm with the greatest of ease, Hirota refused to tap.

“I don’t regret anything about the fight,” Aoki told 5thRound.com through his interpreter. “Broken arms, they happen during a fight so the referee should have stopped that before it happened.

“[I don’t] regret it because it happened during the fight.”

While most didn’t take issue with Aoki snapping his bitter rival’s limb because it did occur legally during battle, it was his Brock Lesnar-esque antics afterwords that drew the ire of MMA purists.

Instead of celebrating respectfully with his team, the Dream lightweight champ opted to stand over his severely injured foe just to tell him he was #1 – except Aoki didn’t use his index finger to do so …

“The thought came down to me,” Aoki said of his uncontrollable urges. “Maybe the bad thought came down to me. A demon took over me that night.”

Although the lightweight claims something took charge of his body inside the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, he’s of clear mind now and still doesn’t have remorse for what went down in the Orient.

“I don’t regret anything about that night,” Aoki matter-of-factly stated.

Aoki will challenge Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez for his strap this Saturday at “Strikeforce: Nashville.” The event marks the organization’s second CBS primetime broadcast, as well as Aoki’s stateside debut.

Melendez just unified the 155-pound title when he dominated Josh Thomson at “Strikeforce: Evolution” in December. It was his third straight win, improving his record to a dominant 17-2.

“It’s going to be a very great fight, with a quick submission or knockout,” Aoki predicted. “Either way, it’s going to be a 1stRound fight for him or for me. I just want to win the fight.”

When asked if American fans would be forced to witness Aoki’s inner demons if he were to leave the Bridgestone Arena victorious, the controversial grappler made no promises.

“Sometime in the future, it may happen,” Aoki said. “I can’t deny that it will happen again. That may happen, you can expect it.”

Please click the media player below if you missed Aoki’s New Year’s Eve show:

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