MMA Mania first learned of the release earlier this week from sources within the Okami camp, but were unable to confirm the news immediately with the UFC. Okami has been a mainstay in the UFC's middleweight division for seven years, and compiled a record of 13-5 in the Octagon.
During his time with the promotion, he was described by UFC President Dana White as the "best fighter to come out of Japan." White was correct in his assessment as Okami was able to put together multiple winning streaks as well as challenge for the Middleweight belt when he faced Anderson Silva at UFC 134 in Rio De Janiero, Brazil.
He was last seen welcoming Ronaldo Souza to the Octagon at UFC Fight Night: Teixeira vs Bader. Okami was on the wrong end of a devastating knock out, which catapulted Souza into the top of the middleweight division.
Okami's style was the very definition of a "grinder". He was able to make great fighters look mediocre by outmuscling in the clinch and against the cage. Unfortunately, this also meant that he wasn't exactly known as a 'fan friendly' fighter, with only five of his wins coming by way of stoppage.
Among Okami's career highlights in the UFC are wins over Evan Tanner, Mark Munoz, Alan Belcher, and Hector Lombard. Prior to his loss against Chris Weidman at UFC 162, Okami held the distinction of being the last man to hold a win over Anderson Silva.
He is currently ranked as the sixth best middleweight fighter in the official UFC rankings.
What say you Maniacs? Was this release justified or does Okami still have some left in the tank?