Long-overlooked middleweight title contender Yushin Okami will finally get his chance to fight for Anderson Silva’s 185lbs. championship belt, at UFC: Rio later this summer.
The Japanese grappler-first sports a 10-2 record in the UFC and is actually the last man to have defeated Silva — albeit via disqualification after he was knocked out with an illegal upkick. “Thunder” recently spoke to MMAFighting.com about what the impending match up means to him and why he thinks their match up will go differently this time.
“Winning the championship will be proof that an Asian can stand on top of the heavyweight contact sports world,” Okami explained. “I believe that can also give strength to everyone in Japan and Asia. I hope the people of Japan will feel joy by seeing me fight and seeing me become the champion,”
Defeating Silva — who has lorded over the middleweight division through an unprecedented eight title defenses — is no small task, but Okami is prepared to take on the dominant Brazilian despite his well-deserved fearsome reputation.
“My opponent is the champion Anderson, the fight is in Brazil, and I am the challenger. I’d say that the table has been set,” he said. “He’s got an aura that intimidates any opponent. I’m going to take that aura away from him.”
Silva has said that he isn’t overly excited to face Okami again as he believes that they already determined who the better fighter was last time they met in the cage, but that doesn’t mean anything to Okami, who has nothing on his mind other than taking out “The Spider.”
“It doesn’t matter what he thinks,” he said. “All I think about is defeating Anderson.”