Posted by Kpro
I think Aoki could look top 10 against multiple guys in the top 10 and also not look top 20 against multiple guys in the top 20. He's a real matchup play.
After last night there's not even a top 50 LW in Japan (In any organization) for him to face, that he hasn't already faced. He had to face a friend and occasional training partner, Kitaoka, just to face someone who's a top 50 LW, and even that can be debated.
No way to move up the ladder unless he moves to a US organization, and really only a Zuffa one, or they'd have to import a challenge for him in DREAM but who's a top LW not under contract somewhere? Literally no one left to challenge for his title at 155 in Japan. Very curious to see who they can pull out of their hat for his next match in an empty pool.
Hellboy and Kawajiri are at 145 now eyeing Takaya's title, plus they've both combined to fight Aoki 4 times already.
About the best DREAM could import that `might` not be under exclusive contract would be Narantungalag, Masvidal if his contract is over or if he isn't retained, maybe Alessio...... then it gets into the Clementi's and McCullough's he's been facing. None of those will move him up any rankings. Even pulling a Joe Daddy or Pellegrino out of what may be retirements wouldn't do anything, no reward with the risk.
Zuffa or bust if you want to be thought of as a top 5 fighter the way the talent pool is spread in MMA right now.
I agree, if I were in Aokis corner I'd call for Stevenson, he's not in his prime and it'd be easy money for both fighters, there Gunna have to call in fighters with 1 fight contracts and hope Aoki can beat them all, If I were Dana I'd send one of your boys out there just to beat him up tbh... But Dana doesn't seem to co-promote Other than the one off when he sent chuck over
If I was Dana I'd send Lauzon over, no huge risk if he loses, good boxing, stylistically a good match for Lauzon and it'll be more exposure, but that's just me