Middleweight Yushin Okami is the best fighter to ever come from Japan. How do we know this? Because UFC president Dana White professed as much during Tuesday’s conference call.
“In my opinion, Yushin Okami is the best fighter to ever come out of Japan,” White emphatically stated. “This guy didn’t come up fighting cans and get this built up, mythological record. This guy has been fighting the absolute best for years. I’m sure he feels, and a lot of people feel, he hasn’t gotten the credit he deserves.
“Now he’s going in against the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, probably the best fighter ever in mixed martial arts. Not only if he wins this fight that he’ll get the credit that he deserves, but he’ll have beaten the best in the world.”
With UFC 134 just 11 days away, White was clearly donning his promoter’s cap when he made the statement. However, it’s possible he was taking another indirect dig at Fedor Emelianenko, who has been on White’s bad side for quite some time.
Since “The Last Emperor” lost his third consecutive fight, White has taken every opportunity to slight Emelianenko’s resume because his accomplishments came in Japan – or more importantly, outside of White’s famed Octagon.
In any event, Okami finally gets his shot at Anderson Silva’s title on August 27th. “Thunder” holds an underrated 26-5 record and is the last man to hang a loss on the baddest 185-pounder on the planet.
Okami took a disqualification win over Silva at “Rumble on the Rock 8″ in January of 2006 courtesy of an illegal up-kick to Okami face.
He may be entering Silva’s homeland of Brazil to try and extract the title, but Okami won’t be stepping into the cage by himself. He knows his countrymen will be supporting from afar and the 30-year-old refuses to let them down given the dire state March’s tsunami left The Land of the Rising Sun in.
“Japan is suffering and is in a very difficult situation,” Okami expressed through an interpreter. “But those people are cheering me, so when I bring the belt back to Japan it will add a lot more boost to the Japanese recovery.”
UFC 134 takes place inside the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro. The middleweights will headline the pay-per-view broadcast.