MMAFighting conducted an email interview with UFC 134 middleweight title challenger Yushin Okami today, where he discussed all sorts of stuff concerning his upcoming fight with Anderson Silva in Brazil. Okami is not normally a trash talker by any means, but his history with Anderson led to some bold statements in regards to the matchup. That history, of course, is Okami's controversial DQ win over Anderson at Rumble on The Rock 8 in early 2006, Anderson's last loss in MMA competition.
First off, Okami discusses what a UFC title win would mean to the people of his beleaguered country of Japan:
"Winning the championship will be proof that an Asian can stand on top of the heavyweight contact sports world," Okami told MMA Fighting in an interview conducted via email. "I believe that can also give strength to everyone in Japan and Asia.
"I hope the people of Japan will feel joy by seeing me fight and seeing me become the champion," he continued.
Then it was onto the meat of the issue: Anderson Silva. Silva told the LA Times recently that Okami could have continued after the illegal kick that ultimately ended their ROTR fight, but simply chose not to:
"I was a little surprised with his reaction to that," Silva says. "Do I think he could have continued? I do think he could have continued. But he had the rules in his favor. I did an illegal kick and he chose that it was better not to continue."
"It doesn't matter what he thinks," he said. "All I think about is defeating Anderson."
Mike Chiapetta, the author, noted that Anderson looked "downright bored" while winning decisions over Thales Leites at UFC 97 and Demian Maia at UFC 112. Yushin is pretty clear about how things will go down in the cage between him and Silva:
"I will guarantee that he will not be bored when fighting me," he said.
And in closing:
"My opponent is the champion Anderson, the fight is in Brazil, and I am the challenger. I'd say that the table has been set," he said.
"He's got an aura that intimidates any opponent. I'm going to take that aura away from him."
Bold statements indeed. The many layers involved in this title match should make for an exciting fight in Rio.