Mikey Musumeci breaks down his ‘passing the torch moment’ with Shinya Aoki: “That’s the beauty of martial arts”

ONE flyweight submission grappling world champion Mikey Musumeci felt like ‘The Karate Kid’ when he had his own Daniel LaRusso-Mr. Miyagi moment with the legendary Shinya Aoki.

One of the biggest storylines from the action-packed ONE Fight Night 15 last weekend was Musumeci submitting the Japanese icon using his signature move against him, ‘The Aoki Lock’.

Once the dust settled, there was nothing but love between the two BJJ maestros. Receiving Aoki’s respect meant a lot for Musumeci, who treated it as a ‘passing of the torch’ moment.

The now 40-year-old Aoki, after all, was once the most feared grappler in BJJ and MMA who made a name for himself with his innovative techniques and sheer ferocity in hunting for submissions.

Now, that mantle belongs to his heir apparent, Mikey Musumeci.

In his ONE Fight Night 15 post-event interview, ‘Darth Rigatoni’ shared just how big of an influence Shinya Aoki had in his development as a martial artist:

“He’s been competing since I was born probably. He’s such a legend and I think this match and martial arts in general, is like the master passing the torch to the student. So in his generation, he inspired my generation, and then me defeating Shinya represents martial arts where the master passes it on to the next generation. And then in my generation, all of them actually get beat by somebody from the next generation and so on.”

While Aoki is indeed closing in on the twilight of his legendary career, he’ll leave a lasting legacy for paving the way for modern-day grapplers like Musumeci.

The five-time IBJJF world champion, for his part, is proud to continue what ‘Tobikan Judan’ started. He added:

“And I think that’s the beauty of martial arts. So that’s why it’s also special, this match, it represents how martial arts is, right? It had very similar vibes to when I faced Masakazu Imanari, right?”

Watch Mikey Musumeci’s full interview:


The replay of ONE Fight Night 15 is available anytime on demand for Amazon Prime Video subscribers in North America.

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