In a somewhat surprising move, the UFC has cut former middleweight top contender Yushin Okami (pictured). The 32-year-old has been with the planet’s premier mixed martial arts promotion since August 2006, compiling a respectable 13-5 record against the who’s who in the division during that span.
UFC president Dana White confirmed Okami’s unemployment status Friday.
“Thunder” had his three-fight winning streak viciously snapped by former Strikeforce champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza earlier this month at UFC Fight Night 28. Okami has won six of his past nine scraps, with his blemishes during that run coming against then-champ Anderson Silva, Tim Boetsch (a bout Okami had well under control until Boetsch staged a late rally) and Souza.
His most notable wins inside the Octagon have come against Alan Belcher (twice), Mike Swick, Evan Tanner, Mark Munoz, Nate Marquardt and Hector Lombard.
Okami is currently ranked #6 on the UFC Middleweight Fighter Rankings.
Realistically, a fighter as talented as Okami won’t be out of work for too long. Bellator MMA has been swallowing up the UFC’s castoffs at a rapid rate of late, so he could very well be headed to the Octagon’s biggest rival if this report holds true.