The 37-year-old is highly revered for his world-class grappling and submission skills, which he’s used to earn an astonishing 46-9 (1 NC) professional record.
Along the way, Aoki has garnered impressive accolades and would love to enjoy a third reign as ONE Lightweight World Champion.
But while Aoki’s martial arts accomplishments are well-known to fans, how about his life outside of competition? Before the “ONE on TNT” event series kicks off on 7 April, we present seven things you might not know about “Tobikan Judan.”
#1 He’s All About That Curry
Curry may originate from India, but it’s become a popular dish in Japan, and Aoki is a big fan. In fact, “Tobikan Judan” eats curry at least three times a week and even pens a column dedicated to the food.
Aoki has also described himself as a minimalist and says that making choices in his everyday life can be bothersome. But eating curry is always a safe choice because it’s a “never go wrong” type of dish.
#2 He Screams For “Ice Cream”
Curry isn’t the only type of food the Japanese legend loves.
Aoki absolutely adores ice cream, and he isn’t afraid to tweet about it (or about his fondness for Baskin-Robbins).
In fact, the combat sports superstar often tweets about which ice cream he ate on a given day. He also uploads the picture of typical ice cream that is sold in convenience stores in Japan.
#3 He Hits The Sauna. A Lot.
In Japan, it’s common for men to relax in bathhouses. And for many athletes, those visits help with conditioning.
The former lightweight king is one of those athletes, as he enjoys the refreshing feeling. “Tobikan Judan” says he hits the sauna for 12 minutes and then dips his body into cold water.
What’s more, he repeats that process five times. And sometimes, he also catches up with his friends.
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#4 He Doesn’t Drink Or Smoke
You’ll never see Aoki with a beer bottle in his hand or a cigarette in his mouth. That’s because he doesn’t drink or smoke.
The Japanese legend cares about having a long athletic career, and he knows smoking could hurt his endurance. Also, Aoki quickly admits he has no tolerance for alcohol, so he stays away from adult beverages.
#5 He Cycles All Over Tokyo
If you live in the Japanese capital, there’s a chance you may have seen the former ONE Lightweight World Champion riding his bike.
After the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, Aoki began riding to get around Tokyo. He views it as a good substitute for aerobic exercise – and great fun.
#6 He Mentors Itsuki Hirata
Over the past year, Aoki has openly expressed how impressed he is with Itsuki “Android 18” Hirata. In fact, he believes the ONE Championship star could be an important leader for the next generation of Japanese mixed martial artists.
The grappling icon was even in Hirata’s corner for her last fight when she defeated Mirai Nakamura via second-round TKO.
There is no doubt “Tobikan Judan” will be pulling for “Android 18” in the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix.