View Full Version : Coker Targets Aoki,Kawajiri And Sakurai In Strikeforce

12-09-2009, 08:09 PM

Shinya Aoki could make his Strikeforce debut in March, according to the San Jose, Calif.-based promotion’s CEO.

Scott Coker on Monday told MMAWeekly.com that “dialogue was continuing” with Aoki’s camp and follow-up meetings were planned during a trip to Japan for Dynamite! Dream vs. Sengoku on New Year’s Eve.

"I do believe Aoki will probably be here fighting for Strikeforce in March sometime," he said.

Coker said a Showtime-broadcast card on Jan. 30 in Sunrise, Fla., is nearly filled, though he declined to confirm an April CBS card rumored by the promotion’s signing of Dan Henderson on Monday morning. He did, however, tell AOL Fanhouse that the months of March, April, and May were targeted for events and February was excluded due to the Winter Olympics.

With January booked out and April being negotiated for a CBS event, it’s all but certain a March card would fall under the Showtime banner.

Aoki, 26, is No. 2 ranked lightweight in the world and has dazzled hardcore fans with his slick submission abilities, not to mention his colorful pants. In his last appearance, he took home the Dream lightweight title with a rubber match victory over Norwegian standout Joachim Hansen at Dream 11. He has amassed an 8-2 record in the 20-plus months since the Japanese promotion emerged from the ashes of Pride Fighting Championships.

Of course, with an American debut, Aoki would likely have to swap his pants for run-of-the-mill fight shorts.

Coker said he was also targeting Hayato “Mach” Sakurai, the man who most recently defeated Aoki, and Tatsuya Kawajiri for Strikeforce’s near future.

“The toughest part is going to be the scheduling,” Coker said.