Shinya Aoki is having a hard time finding some consistency in his life as of late.
The DREAM lightweight champion ventured to unfamiliar territory last year when he came state side to challenge current Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez for his lightweight strap, however the submission specialist was unsuccessful in doing so and in the end lost a shut-out decision.
He returned overseas with a strong showing against perennial contender and rival Tatsuya Kawajiri, submitting his fellow Japanese countryman with an achilles lock inside of the first-round.
He would go on to rattle off another two wins to secure a three-fight win streak, however was embarrassed when DREAM decided to pit their best grapplers against one of K-1′s best strikers in Yuichiro “Jienotsu” Nagashima at the promotion’s annual year-end extravaganza, where the world ranked lightweight was knocked out in the second round of the exhibition bout.
Well it looks like Aoki has now had about enough of DREAM and Japan altogether. Hello, Strikeforce.
MiddleEasy.com has recently stated that the Judoka will now leave his humble abode of DREAM to join the Strikeforce lightweight roster exclusively.
There isn’t any one incident that can pointed at for Shinya to make such a hasty decision. He’s fought in Japan his entire career in the mixed martial arts world, aside from the one outing in Nashville, Tennessee when he faced Melendez for the belt.
Among many of the Japan based organization’s problems, one of them has consistently been stiffing fighters of their paydays. Most notably, Gary Goodridge has only recent been paid a portion of his purse from a 2009 fight with Gegard Mousasi under the DREAM banner. A portion, no less.
The Jiu-Jitsu black belt also stated his desire to train here in the United States following the one-sided beat down Melendez put on Aoki, however the Japanese star has never since made good on that promise, at least not until now.
Shinya would be a welcomed addition to the lightweight roster for Strikeforce. Though he’s as one-dimensional as they come, he is brilliant in that one dimension. He’ll never be an infamous knockout artist, but he will always be the dude in the tight spandex with the crazy good submissions, butt scooting his way to a victory.
So, MMA peeps, what do you make of the news? Though it’s only speculative at this point–what could have made Aoki make this kind of decision in this point of his career? Sound off in the comment section below.