Interview with DREAM FC Champ Shinya Aoki

DREAM FC World Champion Shinya Aoki is widely regarded as the top MMA fighter in Asia. A Black Belt in both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo, he is one of the best submission specialists in the world for MMA. He recently came to Evolve MMA in Singapore to train with the Evolve Fight Team, Asia's top professional fight team.

Here is an interview with Shinya Aoki at Evolve MMA.

Who do you consider to be the best lightweight MMA fighter in the world today?

Shinya Aoki:
At the highest levels of MMA...what I mean is the top 10 fighters in the world in any weight is very close. However, right now, I believe that Strikeforce Champion Gilbert Melendez is the top fighter in the world in the lightweight category. He is a very hard puncher, has excellent wrestling, and is good at classic ground and pound. Gilbert is a very tough fighter. The other top fighters are UFC Champion Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard, and Kenny Florian.

Who is your favorite MMA fighter currently?

Shinya Aoki:
My favorite fighter right now is Gegard Mousasi. He has a very well-rounded game. Although he did not perform well in his last fight, I still believe that he is a great fighter.

What do you think of MMA in Japan versus MMA in the US?

Shinya Aoki:
Unfortunately, MMA in Japan is in a little bit of a mess right now. FEG has not paid fighters. As a Japanese person, I apologize for such behavior. The number of quality Japanese fighters is dwindling in Japan. For example, in my weight category, it is only myself and Kitaoka that can compete on a world-class level...that's all...

What is your typical daily training schedule?

Shinya Aoki:
I normally train 3-4 hours a day, 6 days a week. It does not matter if I have a fight coming up or not. I love martial arts and it is fun for me. I train No Gi BJJ, wrestling, and Muay Thai. I love BJJ with the Gi, but I only do it once a week now. No Gi is much closer to MMA in real life and has its own techniques and nuances. So that's why I spend a lot of time doing No Gi. I train Muay Thai 4x per week.

What about your diet?

Shinya Aoki:
I eat very healthy all year, except for 1 week after each fight. The week after a fight, I consider it my precious vacation and I eat my favorite foods. Other than that week, I eat very healthy such as brown rice, grilled chicken, fresh fruits, soy beans, etc. I eat about 5 times per day. I don't drink alcohol and I don't smoke. I've done a lot of studying on the human body and peak athletic performance. I want to have a long career as a professional athlete and so I take care of my body every day.

How did you hear about Evolve MMA?

Shinya Aoki:
In Japan, one of my former Muay Thai teachers was 2x Muay Thai World Champion Muangfalek Kiatvichian (Kru Bang) for many years. He is one of my good friends and now he teaches at Evolve MMA in Singapore. So this is how I came to hear about Evolve MMA in the first place. It is really unbelievable. I have never seen anything like it before.

How has the training with the Evolve Fight Team been for you?

Shinya Aoki:
The training is incredible at Evolve MMA, especially for a professional fighter like me. In fact, I would consider it to be the best in Asia...maybe even the world. I have traveled to many places around the world, but I have never seen anything like Evolve before...the facilities, the quality of instructors, the number of instructors, the training many world champions in one is quite crazy. Every day, I have been training Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and MMA with the Evolve Fight Team. I've been a huge fan of Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn, Orono Wor Petchpun, and Yoddecha Sityodtong for many years. It was an honor to train Muay Thai with such legendary champions. Zorobabel Moreira has beautiful BJJ and I really enjoyed training with him and the other BJJ Black Belts here. I was very surprised at how high the level is for Muay Thai and BJJ here at Evolve MMA. So many world-class instructors in every area. It was excellent training and I learned so many things.

Have you enjoyed your time in Singapore so far?

Shinya Aoki:
Yes, it has been a great time. The food in Singapore is very delicious. I have been eating mostly at hawker centers because I love the local food. Singapore is so clean and modern.

When is your next fight?

Shinya Aoki:
I am fighting on May 29 for DREAM Fighting Championship. I don't have my opponent yet.

When you fight, do you always have the same game plan?

Shinya Aoki:
I have different game plans for different opponents. Of course, my strength is submissions. So I enjoy taking the fight to the ground. However, I have been working very hard on my Muay Thai in the last 5-6 years too. I like the Thai clinch a lot and using knees too. I'm always learning and trying to improve myself as a martial artist. I have also been working very hard on wrestling and cage work.

Any predictions for UFC 129? Georges St Pierre or Jake Shields?

Shinya Aoki:
Both fighters are incredible. However, I believe that GSP is too well-rounded and too athletic for Jake Shields.

Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview, Shinya. Do you have anything to say to your fans out there?

Shinya Aoki:
Thank you for all of your support. It makes me very happy that so many of you appreciate my work. Thank you for everything and I will continue to do my best.

Evolve Mixed Martial Arts® is Asia's premier brand of MMA academies. It is the top martial arts training organization in Asia. Evolve MMA ranks among the best academies in the world for Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Mixed Martial Arts.