The Dean Lister fight was not Okami's fault. Let me say that first. Okami did everything he could to make an entertaining fight but Dean Lister's one million attempts at pulling guard and constant sitting in half-guard without really trying for any real submission was the reason this fight was not entertaining at all. At one point in the second round, with about 3:35 left, Okami even threw his hands up in disgust as Lister just sat on the octagon floor waiting for Okami to come down to him. So let's get one thing straight. Dean Lister made this a boring fight. It was not Okami's fault. Yushin Okami fought a guy who was not interested in fighting but rather interested in having a grappling match in the middle of the octagon. Sometimes that's fine but in this instance it was not.
I really think that Okami has earned himself a title shot. His only loss in the octagon was to Rich Franklin which was actually a fight where Okami appeared to do more damage in the one round he won than Franklin did in the two rounds he actually won on the scorecards. But with that aside, Okami is 7-1 in the UFC. He holds victories over Alan Belcher, Kalib Starnes, Rory Singer, Mike Swick, Jason MacDonald, Evan Tanner, and Dean Lister. If there is any injustice inside the UFC right now it's the fact that Okami has still not been in a fight with Anderson Silva. I know that they agreed to a fight but Okami had to withdraw due to a hand injury which was originally suffered in the Tanner fight. I understand that. But why not give this guy a crack finally? What has he done to not earn one? He actually got an ovation during the introductions before he fought Lister. And the fans were not booing Okami during the fight but rather his opponent.
Yushin Okami has earned his title shot. It's about time he finally got it signed on the dotted line. UFC 96 should be where it happens. Silva versus Okami. It needs to happen. Silva needs to avenge this loss, should he actually win, just to sleep better at night. You know he wants this fight because of the way their first encounter ended. Okami wants this fight as well not just because of the fact that the title would be on the line but because of the fact that Silva is (arguably) regarded as the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world today. And beating him (again) would do wonders for his career. It would do wonders for anyone's career to be quite honest.
So please, Joe Silva, make this happen. It won't be the fight that's hyped up the most or watched the most but it's the fight that needs to happen the most. Not for your sake or our sake but for the sport's sake. This is just like Rampage-Wandy III or Rampage-Liddell II or Liddell-Ortiz II. Fights that need to happen for the sake that they need to happen. Sure, Okami isn't a huge household name. But perhaps he could be. Perhaps if he was marketed better. And perhaps if you actually stopped slighting him and put him on the main card. The guy has a style that everyone can love. He's not like the traditional Japanese fighters who prefer to submit people when the fight hits the ground. He's a pure ground-and-pound wizard. He loves to hurt his opponents. He can sell a fight with his style if you let it happen. So please, let it happen. For the sport's sake.