Arnaud Lepont was happy being a respectful, honorable fighter leading into his main event bout against Shinya Aoki this weekend at ONE FC: Rise of the Kings.
He’s still doing his best to stay in that state of mind, but it’s been a little bit harder after Aoki made some scathing comments leading into their fight.
Aoki said that he’s never heard of Lepont and he’s making a mistake for asking to fight him.
Needless to say, Lepont was rather surprised at Aoki’s comments, but he’s happy to pay him back when they meet this weekend.
“I have to be honest, yes I am (disappointed),” said Lepont when speaking to MMAWeekly.com. “But it helps me open my mind and get more focused about that fight. Now I know I have to go for it, to earn his respect. He says he can knock me out? Great, can’t wait to see how long he will wait before trying to putting me down.”
Lepont has done his best to remain respectful even in the face of Aoki’s criticisms, and he won’t change that no matter what the former DREAM champion has to say.
“I am still a fan of the legend, not of the man,” said Lepont. “I have a brash and brazen attitude but I have always been respectful to my opponent. We are sportsmen. Seems that Shinya has a lack of respect for me or his fans.”
No matter what Aoki has to say about Lepont before the fight happens, or how he makes predictions regarding his stand-up, his opponent isn’t letting it affect him.
Lepont welcomes Aoki to any kind of battle when they meet at ONE FC, but promises that if the ‘Baka Survivor’ really decides to stand and trade with him, he’ll have flashbacks to his last fight.
“I will try to hurt him. I will go where he wants to and I will push the pace of the fight. He thinks he can stand, let’s do it. (I) think his memory is short after what happened to him with Eddie (Alvarez),” said Lepont.
“He will fool the world and bang with me the first minute, but as soon as possible, he will go for the takedown and try to get a submission. Nobody ever (has) knocked me out, even in Muay Thai fights. Do you really think he can? Can’t wait to see if he can do so.”