The Latest Injustice: Yushin Okami

The combination of a voiceover for UFC 86 that hypes Cote-Almeida as a fight for a title shot ,and speculation that Silva is going to fight at Light Heavyweight has lead to an outcry among some hardcore fans:  What about Yushin Okami?

In January 2006, Okami "defeated" Anderson Silva via DQ when Silva knocked him out with an illegal upkick.   He has won 8 of 9 fights since, with his only loss coming at the hands of Rich Franklin.  Unfortunately for Okami, Franklin is the only legitimate 185 pound contender he has fought, and he lost.

It's very hard to argue that wins over Alan Belcher, Mike Swick, Jason MacDonald, and a returning Evan Tanner justify a title shot.  I'm of the opinion that in order to earn a shot at Silva, Okami (or anyone else at 185) must get a win over either Rich Franklin or Dan Henderson.  Franklin is the gatekeeper at 185 now, and Henderson is an elite fighter that is looking to build himself back up.  There's no reason for guys like Okami and Bisping to be considered for title shots if they can't beat Franklin or Henderson.  The next fight for Okami should be with Henderson, and if he can beat Dan, then he deserves a title shot.

I wouldn't be surprised if they do this fight on a UK show or something in the fall anyway, but they are risking a letdown if Anderson Silva can't motivate himself for middling fights, and someone like Okami decisions his way to the title.  Silva has accomplished way too much now to be asked to take fights that will make him no money and will garner no interest.  This is why he ought to move up to 205--He can raise his profile in fights with big names like Forrest Griffin, Chuck Liddell, and Rashad Evans, and in the meantime real contenders can rise to the top of the 185 pound division.

Anderson Silva has spectacular fights, but it is the same group of people watching them every time, for the most part.  His first fight with Rich Franklin drew 300,000 buys, his second 325,000, and the fight with Dan did about the same.  Beating obscure middleweights is not going to do anything to help him break out, he needs high profile fights.

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