ONE FC interim bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes hasn't even unified his title, and he's already thinking about his next challenge.
Fernandes (14-3) discussed a potential champion vs. champion clash against ONE FC lightweight titleholder Shinya Aoki (33-6, 1 NC) on Tuesday, telling MMAFighting.com that he'd accept the match if presented it. However, according to ONE FC CEO Victor Cui, that bout isn't in the promotion's immediate plans.
"Right now my focus for Bibiano would be to see the title unified," Cui said. "I think we've got to see how Soo Chul Kim [does]. Bibiano is a great fighter but Kim is also a great champion. It's going to be a tough fight. He's going to have to take care of that first."
As for Aoki, the longtime lightweight has publicly mulled a drop down to 145 pounds for some time now, even making a successful test cut in late-June. Nonetheless, Cui isn't putting too much stock into Aoki's statements.
"I know he's been talking about making weight and cutting, but right now he's our lightweight champion and he hasn't even defended that yet," Cui said.
"I'm assuming he's going to defend his lightweight title. He hasn't spoken otherwise. I think like any great athlete he's trying to always test the boundaries of his physical abilities to see what he can do, so that's why him and his team have been looking at featherweight or experimenting. But from my perspective, he's our lightweight champion and I'm looking forward to seeing him defend."