Aoki Attacks the STRIKEFORCE!! - Press Conference

Uploaded by DREAM on 03.03.2010

Thank you for coming here today for Shinya Aoki's press conference.
First, I have some big news for you.
Aoki has decided to compete in STRIKEFORCE.
Aoki has decided to compete in STRIKEFORCE. On April 17th, Aoki will go up against Gilbert Melendez in the STRIKEFORCE lightweight title match.
This competition will be held in the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
It's a big arena, with about 17000 seats. It will be aired all over America by CBS.
From the beginning, a lot of people have been saying they want to get Aoki in the cage. Since we're going on national TV this time, we really want to put together a strong group.
Since DREAM has big tournaments coming up in March and April, we wanted to have him appear in DREAM, but we have decided to give in to fans' requests.
Since the New Year's Eve tournament ended on such a high note defeating one of Japan's best, Aoki now wants to challenge opponents from other parts of the world. DREAM has become the biggest MMA event in Asia, and though we'd like to have Aoki in our events, his crossing over from Asia's top fighter to challenge the world could be a bridge for DREAM to take on the world as well.
I think this titlematch has really come together thanks to this new collaboration and the the feelings and resolution of each fighter.
The match will be held in a cage, but the next match is proposed to be the same as DREAM's. We are discussing it now and it should happen soon.
We are discussing having KJ Noons in March, Aoki in April, and Nick Diaz in the Eastern Japan Tournament in May. We're not sure yet if there will be a rematch between Marius Zaromskis and “MACH” Sakurai, but are able to say that DREAM and STRIKEFORCE's have begun an important collaboration.
Thank you so much for offering me a chance to compete in STRIKEFORCE's title match. I am truly happy.
With the big DREAM tournaments in March and April, I was wondering how I, being such a central figure now, could not be in Japan. DREAM is Asia's, no the world's premiere event in my opinion and I think we proved that on New Year's Eve.
Then I had to think about what to do next and if conquering Japan was enough.
I think that I'm the only one from the DREAM lightweight division who can really bear it all and go up against America.
Especially since I'm the one saying that Japan is the best. I want to prove quickly and decisively that the DREAM champion really is the at the top of the world.
Since I feel like if I lose, DREAM's reputation will suffer as well, I know it won't be an easy challenge. I'm going to have to go in ready and determined and risk everything to show who I am.
I'll prove that I'm "one in six-billion".
I'm going to go ahead and do my best, and the next time you all see me, I'll have the champion belt.
Q: What do you think of Melendez?
A: We tried to have a match four years ago and it didn't happen. Basically I think he's a champion and a top fighter in the world. His fights are really fascinating and draw the attention of the whole world. His fights satisfy both Japanese and American fans.
Q: Since you've moved on to the world stage, what will happen to Kawajiri?
A: I don't want him to think that I'm not in DREAM anymore. I just took up Mr. Sasahara on his offer to fight abroad. We'll still have our DREAM title match.
S: The time hasn't been decided yet, but it's going to happen. Once everything is in order with Aoki and Kawajiri, I want to go ahead with it.
Q: For the New Year's Eve SRC match, you said you were going to "stab" your way to victory. How about this time?
A: Since it's in America, it's probably to better to say I want to go in and "shoot". That's probably not good since I am a former cop. Either way, I'm going in for the kill.
If I go into the world from DREAM and want to get promoted, I can't go in only half wanting it. No matter what anyone says, I gotta do what I gotta do. That's just the way it is.
Q: Are there plans to televise this in Japan?
S: I can't say for sure, but I don't think so.
Q: How should people watch then?
S: They ought to go there and watch it. It's worth it. It's pretty amazing that CBS is broadcasting it live all over America. Since Aoki is representing a lot more than just himself, he'll have a lot on his shoulders. He'll probably fight the hardest you've ever seen him. You can expect an incredible fight for sure.
It's not just a challenge though; it's a battle.
By the way, since ten people I know say they are going too, I want to see how I'm going to affect the economy.
How about the rules?
A: You can elbow them when you're standing, but not when they're down, so that's the same. This is my first time fighting in a cage, but I've watched more cage matches than any fight fan out there. I think I'll be able to put the pressure on.
Q: How is this different from DREAM?
A: There's actually no difference to me.
I'm just looking out at the world as always. This is kind of crazy, but one difference is that in DREAM, since you're surrounded by five ropes, you're not allowed to stick your leg or anything out. But when you're in a cage, you won't be able to stick anything out anyway so there's probably not much difference
Q: Are leggings not allowed?
A: You have to take them off. But that means you definitely have to come out to Nashville to see my amazing bare legs, because they've been in leggings for so long. This is a rare opportunity.
Q: Are you well known in America?
A: I'd like to be, but it doesn't really matter. It would be okay, and being famous would be good but there's a lot of annoying stuff that comes with that. Like, stuff that doesn't bother ordinary people makes me angry.
Basically, I'm just going to give a 120% performance and submit my opponent.
A: If the timing is right, I'll do it, but otherwise I'm just going to go ahead as usual. I'm not too conscious of what I do. 
Q: Do you have any concerns?
S: None at all. I think it's going to be great. You can't really tell from how he's talking now, but I think up to now he has been dealing with a lot. It's tough bringing back with the "one in six billion" image. With DREAM, he just naturally aimed to win and did it, but now that we're looking overseas that hasn't happened yet. This time, there's this sense that he's going out and coming back all on his own, so this match really has an all-or-nothing feel to it.
Q: We assume there will be some matches do defend your title, do you think you'll go back and forth between America and Japan?
A: That's up to my organization. I'll go back if they tell me to. But no matter what they say, I'm going to give my best performance. If I can't do my best because I'm in a different place and eating different things, then I'm just an amateur.
Q: Are there any possible opponents?
S: No, but when there are, it will be a title match.
Q: B.J. Penn is also aiming to be world champion. Have you been keeping an eye on him?
A: What do you mean?
Q: Have you been focusing on his matches?
A: I've never been to UFC. If I could do UFC in Japan then that would be okay, but I'm not running out on my Japanese fans. Japan is a big part of me, as are my fans and my staff. I'd rather try to get them to come over here.
"We are very excited about having Shinya Aoki compete against STRIKEFORCE Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez on Saturday, April 17, an opportunity that came about due to STRIKEFORCE's strong working relationship with DREAM. We are also looking forward to sending some of our top fighters, including Nick Diaz and K.J. Noons to compete in DREAM events in Japan this year." -- Scott Coker, STRIKEFORCE Founder and CEO