Home UFC Shinya Aoki Offered UFC Contract, Turns It Down

Shinya Aoki Offered UFC Contract, Turns It Down


Shinya Aoki has carved out a very successful MMA career, fighting around the world in many different promotions such as Pride, DREAM, Shooto, and even Bellator.

The ONE FC lightweight champ recently made a move down to featherweight, defeating Cody Stevens in his divisional debut at ONE FC: Total Domination in October.

But there is one major promotion that “The Grand Master of Flying Submissions” has not competed in, and that is the UFC. It’s often been wondered just how Aoki would fare against top competition in the Octagon. Apparently, that nearly happened. But Aoki turned down a contract offer from the UFC. His trainer Chatri Sityodtong detailed the situation via his Facebook page:

“The rumors are true. UFC offered contracts to 3 fighters on the Evolve Fight Team: Shinya Aoki, Eddie Ng, and Leandro Brodinho. After careful reflection, Shinya and Eddie have both decided to stay in ONE FC due to more favorable economics. Brodinho has not made a final decision yet and is currently thinking through everything.”

Interesting. Aoki decided to stay with ONE FC because of ‘more favorable economics,’ meaning that they most likely pay more than whatever offer the UFC put on the table. Debates are going to rise as to whether this is the true reason of Aoki’s refusal because he’s wilted in the face of truly top competition. His fights against Eddie Alvarez and Gilbert Melendez are prime examples of this.

Perhaps Aoki is content to fight in Asia, picking off their mid-level combatants with an array of complex submissions. He wouldn’t be able to pull those off on the top opponents he’d be facing in the Octagon, so it actually comes as little surprise that he turned down the UFC offer. He would have walked right into a hornet’s nest because the UFC features an absolute murderer’s row at 145 pounds.

Aoki most likely would have had a very tough time with any top ten featherweight in the UFC. If he can make more money fighting lesser opponents in ONE FC, there’s little motivation for him to risk losing your reputation by being outclassed by the best. Are you surprised by Aoki’s decision? Would you have liked to see him compete in the UFC?

  • imagine aoki vs rani yahya

  • I hate to say it, but its true.

    Look at Jake shields in Strikeforce, he was a submission machine. But in the UFC he's just another guy.

    Condit was basically Anderson Silva in WEC. He would KO everybody they stuck in front of him and no serious challengers insight. In UFC he's just another guy.

    Damian maia, wrecked guys and looked like a god before UFC. Now he's just another guy.

    Aoki wouldnt do well in todays UFC. The wrestling would shut him down and any top 10 would give him a hardtime in the UFC. Aoki would get ktfo by Meisha Tate in the first 2 minutes. His striking is sh*t!!!

    He'd take a big pay day to take a beating, but i doubt he'd take a small one. Big fish in a small pond.

    • Neither of those examples are true. Shields was not a submission wiz in strike force nor is condit just a guy. He beat Hendricks who beat GSP. I appreciate the UFC has a lage pool of talent but, condit is still a top 2, 3 guy. And shields well he was never that impressive anyway. He had subs in elite but that's down a few notches from the top few organizations today.

    • those are all terrible analogies. shields isnt just another guy hes one of the best grapplers in WW in case you missed the maia fight. condit isnt like anderson silva but hes still good. and maia won like 5 straight by submission in the ufc

    • Condit and Shields Just another Guy??? well you lost me there!!

    • movescamp and thealex contrdict each other. is he a sub wiz or not?

      also, have you guys watched Condit back in the day? he's popular now, he's my fav ww fighter. But he doesnt get anywhere near the respect he should. After the fight with Diaz, people called him a point fighter. Guys finished like 90% of his fights.

      Aoki wouldn't do half as well as he does now in the UFC. The wrestlers would smash him.

  • Condit just another guy? Come on dude.

  • He cant fathom the thought of going to an Org. that has taken the Strikeforce fighters who beat him. Thinking if they beat him, the UFC fighters will surely beat him. He'll stick to an org with less wreslers and less strikers lol

  • There are a few sides to this. Aoki wants to stay in the Asian market he is very well regarded overseas. Other organisations have to stay relative compared to UFC. JMMA has been on a downslide for a long time, they need guys like Aoki. From what I know UFC wants to expand into that market, having Aoki on board would be a big boost due to his popularity in Asia. Aoki can hang with the best grapplers in the UFC, and I think he would do well in the UFC.

  • His attitude *****, i remember him flipping the tall middle finger to his opponent after he broke his leg, he is the Asian Palhares

    • yes but cried(physically cried) after Sakuria KO'd his silly buutt.