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Ring or Cage, Doesn't Matter to Shinya Aoki

As Dream lightweight champion Shinya Aoki prepares for his first fight outside Japan and his first fight in a cage, he says that he doesn't see much reason for concern in going over the differences between Strikeforce rules and Dream rules.

"This is my first time fighting in a cage, but I've watched more cage matches than any fight fan out there," Aoki said. "I think I'll be able to put the pressure on. There's actually no difference to me. ... 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."

A few other notes from Aoki's press conference in Japan to officially announce his April 17 Strikeforce fight with Gilbert Melendez:

-- Aoki noted that in Strikeforce -- like Dream but unlike the UFC -- elbows on the ground are illegal, so he won't have trouble adjusting in that respect.

-- Aoki joked that fans should watch the fight to "see my amazing, bare legs" because grappling pants aren't allowed in the United States.

-- After Melendez, Aoki's next fight will likely be in Dream against Tatsuya Kawajiri.

-- Aoki said that if he wins the Strikeforce title, it would be up to Dream to determine when and where he would return to the United States to defend that title.

-- It doesn't sound like there's much chance of Aoki signing with the UFC any time soon: "If I could do UFC in Japan then that would be OK, but I'm not running out on my Japanese fans," Aoki said. "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."

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