The Ultimate Fighting Championship has released its No. 6 ranked middleweight, Yushin Okami.
UFC officials confirmed Okami’s release to MMAWeekly.com on Friday.
The Japanese veteran has been a staple of the promotion’s 185-pound division since 2006, amassing a record of 13-5 in the Octagon. His overall MMA record currently stands at 29-8.
In a conversation on Twitter, UFC president Dana White responded to questions about why Okami was cut loose by saying, “our roster is packed.”
@MMA__UK our roster is packed
— Dana White (@danawhite) September 27, 2013
White added that if Okami wins a few fights elsewhere, there is “always” room for him to come back to the UFC.
Okami is coming off of a first-round loss to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza via TKO stoppage on the Sept. 4 fight card in Brazil. That loss ended a three-fight winning streak over the likes of Buddy Roberts, Alan Belcher, and Hector Lombard.
He is one of only five men to hold a victory over former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, albeit due to Silva being disqualified for an illegal up-kick during their Rumble on the Rock 8 bout in early 2006.
Okami has been a title contender almost from the day he set foot in the Octagon. He finally got a crack at the belt and another shot at Silva at UFC 134 in August of 2011 in Brazil. Silva took Okami out by way of TKO stoppage in the second round.
It’s unclear what Okami’s next step will be, but at 32 years of age, he could continue fighting elsewhere.