The majority of the first half of Yushin Okami’s career was fought in his home country of Japan. When he signed with the UFC in 2006, it took six years for Okami to have another fight back home, and it didn’t go well.
At UFC 144 in February 2012, the UFC took its show back to the “Land of the Rising Sun” for the first time in twelve years. Okami fought Tim Boetsch on the card. He was in complete control of the fight after two rounds, but succumbed to the pressure of Boetsch in the opening moments of the final round and was finished with a barrage of punches.
Okami returns to Japan at UFC on Fuel TV 8, facing the dangerous Hector Lombard. This time, Okami promises the Japanese fans a win.
“This time I will do my very best and I will win. I want all Japanese fans to watch me win,” said Okami during the event’s pre-fight press conference.
Okami has been a fixture in the middleweight top ten rankings for years. He’s the last person to defeated champion Anderson Silva, albeit by disqualification.
He got his title shot and Silva got his rematch at UFC 134 in August 2011. Silva avenged the previous loss by finishing Okami with strikes in the second round.
Okami has put together a two-fight win streak since losing to Boetsch. He’s currently ranked at 4 in the official UFC rankings, but feels, even with a win over Lombard, that he’s a ways away from getting another crack at the title.
“Even if I win against Hector Lombard, I still feel Anderson Silva is quite far away time-wise. There are good fighters in the middleweight division, so I have to win against them too before I reach the championship title match.”
With Silva likely facing Chris Weidman this summer and potential superfights on the horizon for the champ, Okami’s assessment is realistic, but he can move a step closer with a win over Lombard this weekend at the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo.