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Shinya Aoki would love trilogy with Eddie Alvarez, but doesn’t ‘give a damn’ about the UFC

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Shinya Aoki knows it'll likely never occur. But he'd certainly be up for a trilogy bout with old rival Eddie Alvarez.

"If there's an opportunity, I'd definitely like to give it a shot," Aoki told MMA Fighting through a translator. "Realistically, Eddie is in UFC and I'm in ONE. It's not gonna happen. It's not a realistic goal for me."

Aoki and Alvarez have quite the history. They were both regarded at different points as two of the top lightweights on the planet. Aoki beat Alvarez at K-1 Dynamite in 2008 by first-round heel hook submission in Aoki's home country of Japan. The bout took place inside a ring. The two met again in 2012 for Bellator with Alvarez getting revenge by first-round TKO in Cleveland. That one was in a cage.

Since then, the two have gone in different directions. Aoki signed with ONE Championship after the Alvarez fight and is the current 155-pound champ for the organization. He'll defend that belt against Eduard Folayang at ONE: Defending Honor on Friday in Singapore.

Alvarez, of course, defends his UFC lightweight title against featherweight champ Conor McGregor at UFC 205 on Saturday in New York. Aoki said it does not shock him that Alvarez is still performing at an elite tier four years after they last fought.

"I'm the one who knows how strong Eddie is, because I've fought him twice," Aoki said. "I'm not surprised at all. He's an amazing fighter. It's normal that he's still fighting at a high level."

Aoki had opportunities to sign with the UFC over the years. A trilogy bout with Alvarez would be highly anticipated. "Tobikan Judan" still has a huge following internationally and is a big star for ONE. The submission specialist is also a top 155-pounder, but has not fought a name recognizable in the states in his division since Alvarez.

Not that he minds. Aoki said he is being well taken care of by ONE.

"I really don't give a damn about UFC," Aoki said. "That's probably because I'm satisfied with my contract and I'm satisfied with my environment. I'm already fulfilled just being cheered by the Singaporean fans. I think all my surroundings is great. There's no reason to get interested in the UFC."

Aoki, 33, said he doesn't have any firm goals for the rest of his career. He just loves fighting and training, joking that the only thing he does is MMA. The one thing he would enjoy is a fight with Roger Huerta, who is on the ONE roster but has had a tough go of it lately, losing six of seven.

"Ten years ago when I was watching UFC, Roger Huerta used to be my favorite fighter," Aoki said. "If it's 10 years ago, it would have been an amazing matchup between me and Huerta. Still right now, the matchup is attractive to all the fans."

Aoki (39-6, 1 NC) said he plans on fighting for a long time — until he's 45 or 50 years old. In that time, though, there isn't much he wants to specifically accomplish. MMA itself, and likely the pay check, is fulfilling enough.

"Even though I have accomplished other things — I've been champion in many promotions — for me, there's no such thing as a goal," Aoki said. "I don't have a goal. I'm just doing MMA to stays myself. If I don't feel the satisfaction anymore, that's when I'm done."