A span of ten years has elapsed, yet Bibiano Fernandes remains hopeful for an opportunity to cross paths with his fellow MMA veteran, Shinya Aoki. This desire first surfaced a decade ago, when both fighters held the prestigious titles of ONE Championship and DREAM. Despite their shared history as champions, their paths have not yet converged within the MMA arena since encountering losses in both of their matches in the year 2022. “The Flash,” as Fernandes is known, suggests that the time has come to finally realize this long-anticipated showdown.
Expressing his eagerness to step back into the ring, Fernandes shared with MMA Fighting that the decision now rests with ONE Championship. Almost a year has passed since his last match, and the anticipation is palpable. While assurances were given that Aoki would be his next opponent, the wait has stretched on. The eagerness remains steadfast, despite the uncertainty.
Aoki’s illustrious career boasts victories across multiple organizations, including ONE, DREAM, and Shooto. His triumphs over notable fighters like Eddie Alvarez, Gesias Cavalcante, Joachim Hansen, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Kazushi Sakuraba, and Eduard Folayang underscore his prowess in the sport.
Fernandes’ journey is equally impressive. His name is etched in the annals of ONE history with a remarkable streak of nine consecutive title match wins, a feat unparalleled. Notably, he reclaimed the championship belt a mere four months after losing it in 2018, displaying unwavering determination. He further solidified his standing by successfully defending the title against Kevin Belingon. However, setbacks emerged as he surrendered the title to John Lineker in March 2022 and subsequently suffered a decision loss to Stephen Loman in November of the same year.
Amidst his hiatus from the octagon, Fernandes has been diligently involved in establishing his own gym in Langley, British Columbia, Canada. His aspiration to compete anew this year is juxtaposed with his reputation as one of the most accomplished champions in the history of ONE. Fernandes’ resolve remains steadfast; he hungers for competition and echoes the sentiment that the ball now lies in ONE Championship’s court.
In the realm of mixed martial arts, the passage of time has not dulled the anticipation, but rather intensified it. Bibiano Fernandes, with his remarkable legacy, stands ready to embrace his next challenge, while Shinya Aoki’s storied career sets the stage for a showdown that echoes across a decade of history. As the fighters await the call to the arena, the MMA world watches with bated breath for a clash that promises to etch its mark on the sport’s narrative.