ONE: ‘A New Era’ is set for Tokyo on Sunday night and this afternoon the fighters came face to face for the final time at a press conference at the city’s Ritz Carlton.
The event will be headlined by a lightweight bout between Eduard Folayang and Shinya Aoki and the champion was in confident mood,
“I am well-prepared for this bout. I am so happy to be here in Japan for this historic event. I know Shinya has prepared well also and I am expecting the very best from him. This rematch is three years in the making. It’s an honor to face Shinya again. I believe this event is going to be explosive. History will be made,” Folayang said.
While it is Folayang who will be defending his title there is arguably more pressure on Aoki because he is fighting in front of the Japanese fans. The former champion was not giving much away,
“I am thankful that ONE Championship is in my home country. This is a great step forward for martial arts in Japan. I am laser focused for this coming match. I’ve trained very hard for my opponent. This Sunday night, I am confident I can achieve victory and become World Champion once again,” Aoki said.
Also in attendance was former UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos who admitted that he might be interested in fighting for ONE Championship one day.
One fighter who does seem to be on the verge of signing is top ranked female atomweight Rena Kubota. ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong hinted on Twitter that a deal might be in the works:
i hope dj and bibiano inspired you to be a world champion too! see you soon rena!
— Chatri Sityodtong (@yodchatri) March 27, 2019
Kubota holds a 7-2 record and has established herself as one of the top atomweights on the Rizin roster. In what could be a reference to negotiations with ONE Championship she recently tweeted that her ‘dream had come true’:
— RENA (@SB_RENA) March 26, 2019