Once heralded by UFC President Dana White as “the best
fighter to ever come out of Japan,” former middleweight title
challenger Yushin Okami (29-8) has been released by the UFC.
A fixture in the division since making his organizational debut
with a win over Alan Belcher at UFC 62, the Japanese veteran
compiled a 13-5 record inside the Octagon, including wins over Mike
Swick, Mark Munoz, Nate Marquardt, and, most recently, Hector
In August 2011, Okami squared off with then middleweight
champion Anderson Silva in the main event of UFC 134, the
company’s first show in Brazil in over a decade, losing in
his bid to claim championship gold. An upset loss to Tim Boetsch at
UFC 144 followed, but Okami was able to rebound, stringing together
three consecutive victories, re-affirming his standing as one of
the top competitors in the weight class.
Earlier this month, Okami suffered the eighth loss of his
career, falling to former Strikeforce champion Ronaldo
“Jacare” Souza in the first round of the Ultimate Fight
Night 28 co-main event in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Despite his overall success in the cage, Okami has long been
criticized for his grappling-heavy approach, which, while
effective, has never been the most appealing to fans. Of his 13
career UFC wins, eight came by way of decision, while he has been
stopped in each of his last three losses.
Currently ranked sixth in the Official UFC Fighter Rankings,
Okami becomes a victim of a bloated roster, but at age 32, will
likely draw interest from several other organizations now that he
has become a free agent.
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