Yushin Okami Deserves a Shot at Anderson Silva After UFC 126
Although it was by disqualification, Yushin Okami is the last man to record a win against the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Anderson Silva.
Less than a year after their first bout on Jan. 20, 2006, Silva broke Rich Franklin's face and became the UFC Middleweight Champion. Since then, Okami has been working his way back for a rematch.
It was supposed to take place at UFC 90 on Oct. 25, 2008. A broken hand forced "Thunder" to withdraw and be replaced with Patrick Cote. An uneventful win over Dean Lister, another injury and a loss to eventual contender Chael Sonnen set Okami's title aspirations back yet again.
He returned with a three-fight win streak that most recently included his defeat of Nate Marquardt for the position of No. 1 middleweight contender. Finally, it seems, a healthy Okami has his chance at the title.
Not exactly. After knocking out Vitor Belfort with a vicious front kick, everyone has been calling for the Georges St. Pierre super-fight. "Only a wrestler has a chance against Silva," they say. Okami, however, is a high-level wrestler who happens to be quite a lot bigger than GSP.
Despite being 10-2 in the UFC and 26-5 overall, Okami is often overlooked in the division. He deserves this title shot on principle. Although he has been waiting years for it, it also makes sense for the UFC.
For one, GSP still needs to fight Jake Shields, and that's not happening until April 30. A loss to Shields, however unlikely it may be, makes the super-fight pointless.
Secondly, St. Pierre has stated that he would like time to add muscle to his frame in order to have a more successful transition from 170 to 185 pounds.
Lastly, it makes sense financially because the UFC can add another Anderson Silva fight to an upcoming card, while not needing to keep one of their champions waiting for a fight that may not happen.
So there you have it, Dana White. Give Okami a well-deserved title shot to keep Anderson Silva busy. Ensure that GSP wins against Shields. Give him more time to bulk up. And if Silva loses? Oh well. St. Pierre belongs at 185 anyway.
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