Now that the news is out that Yushin Okami has been released by the UFC, the talk has turned to why and if the promotion should have cut the middleweight. Unlike most fighters that get dropped by the promotion, not only did Okami have a winning record in the UFC, but it was a pretty impressive one at that. During his multi-year run with the UFC the powerful grappler went 13-5 while battling many top 185érs.

Since Okami has caught flack from some fans for his grinding approach there’s been speculation that his style may have played a factor in his release. When Dana White was asked by about the UFC’s decision, however, the outspoken executive relayed the following:

“He’s been with us forever,” White said about the 32 year-old “Thunder.””He was always a tough guy and was right up there, but it’s almost like he’d become a gatekeeper. I like Okami, and you’ve heard me say this many times, that a win over Yushin Okami meant something.”

“But he was never able to get over the hump and win one of those [significant] fights. We have a lot of guys coming in and I’ve been saying this all year: We have a full roster and there are guys who deserve opportunities. When you bring guys in, someone has to go. That’s why these fights are so meaningful.”

Since Okami was stopped by “Jacare” Souza at UFC FN 28, and also has a loss versus Tim Boetsch in his last five fights, the Judoka was likely facing a long road back to title contention. That said, if he had won numerous performance bonuses along the way, or was well known for being involved in epic battles, chances are he’d still be in the UFC. Whereever Okami winds up, look for him to score some big wins and be one the promotion’s top fighters.

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