Fernandes — who, like Aoki held the ONE Championship and DREAM titles in the past — first voiced his interested in facing the Japanese legend 10 years ago, back when both were champions at ONE. They are yet to book their next matches after going 0-2 in 2022, and “The Flash” suggests they finally go that route.
“I’m hungry to fight, and it’s up to ONE now,” Fernandes told MMA Fighting. “It’s been almost a year since my last fight and I’m waiting. They said they were going to give me Aoki but it’s been a while, so I don’t know. I’m waiting.”
Aoki (47-11, 1 no contest) held titles in ONE, DREAM and Shooto with key wins over the likes of Eddie Alvarez, Gesias Cavalcante, Joachim Hansen, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Kazushi Sakuraba and Eduard Folayang throughout his career.
Fernandes (24-6) had the longest championship reign in ONE history with nine consecutive wins in title matches, avenging a defeat to regain the belt four months after losing it in 2018, before adding another title defense over Kevin Belingon.
He later dropped the title to John Lineker in March 2022 and then lost a subsequent decision to Stephen Loman the following November. Fernandes is currently working on opening his own gym in Langley, British Columbia, Canada, while waiting for the call to compete for the first time this year.
“I’m the greatest champion in ONE history and I want to fight,” Fernandes said. “I want to fight, brother. It’s up to ONE Championship now.”