Bibiano Fernandes won the One FC interim bantamweight championship last May, and he wants more.
The Brazilian, who also carries the DREAM bantamweight title on his waist, is waiting for a call from the OneFC promoters to start training for his next fight. Soo Chul Kim, the undisputed 135-pound champion, is likely his next opponent, in order to determine the No. 1 in the division, but Fernandes has other challenges in his mind.
"Shinya Aoki is dropping to 145 pounds, so let’s see," Bibiano told MMAFighting.com on Tuesday, eyeing a potential bout against the One FC and DREAM lightweight champion in the featherweight division. "I’m here. If they offer me that fight, I’m always open to challenges. If they want that fight, I’m in."
Fernandes, a former DREAM featherweight champion, dropped to 135 pounds after a unanimous decision loss to Hiroyuki Takaya on 2010, and he’s undefeated since the move. Returning to a heavier weight class to fight a dangerous grappler is something that motivates the multi-time Jiu-Jitsu world champion.
"I like to do things that nobody else does," Bibiano said. "Brazilians never defeated Aoki (in MMA), so I like the challenge."
Five of Fernandes’ 14 wins in MMA have come via submission. On the other hand, Shinya has 22 submission victories in 40 MMA fights. Does that means Aoki has better skills on the ground? Bibiano doesn’t think so.
"I believe my ground game and his ground game are equal," Bibiano said. "That kid is good, but my Jiu-Jitsu is very aggressive. He likes to finish, so do I, but my defense is better."
Aoki’s last MMA fight took place in Singapore, where he finished Kotetsu Boku to win the ONE FC lightweight championship. One month later, he traveled to challenge Kron Gracie in a no-gi match at Metamoris Pro 2, but he ended up getting submitted for the first time in his career, tapping to a tight guillotine.
"That was an interesting fight," Bibiano said. "It didn’t surprise me at all, Kron is f---ing good, man. But MMA is different. When you have punches in it, it’s a whole other story. I have to be ready for everything. If you go in there with only one strategy, things can go wrong."