So What?! Yushin Okami unfazed by UFC release, eyes World Series Of Fighting (WSOF) middleweight strap

Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight title challenger Yushin Okami didn’t sulk for very long when he found out he was released from the promotion. In fact, he’s excited for a new beginning in World Series of Fighting (WSOF).

There's no point in hanging your head.

At least not for Yushin Okami, who was released from Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) after his crushing loss to Ronaldo Souza at UFC Fight Night 28 in Brazil.

The Japanese fighter spoke to the media about his release as part of today's WSOF 9: "Carl vs. Palhares" conference call.

"My manager told me I had been released on the wire. I don't remember my reaction much. I guess I was surprised at first, but I always prepare the worst when I lose, so I recovered my composure with time. Thankfully I received offers from many promotions as soon as my release was announced. I received offers from Japan, Asian promotion, and also promotions from Europe."

Shortly after, upstart promotion World Series of Fighting (WSOF) made him an offer, and when you're a big fish in a small pond, those deals are usually pretty damn sweet.

"When WSOF presented an offer for me, I was very happy. WSOF is a new promotion, so history is going to be made here and now, and I plan on being a part of it. I think that the great opportunity to make history and the exposure with NBC made the difference for me. I think that the center of the MMA is North America."

Okami's record stands at a respectable 29-8 in the sport. Before the loss to "Jacare," he strung together an impressive three-fight winning streak after losing to Anderson Silva at UFC 134 in a middleweight title match up, and then to Tim Boetsch at UFC 144 -- being on the wrong end of one of the most memorable comebacks ever.

He can now start fresh in his new home, making his debut at WSOF 9: "Carl vs. Palhares" in less than two weeks, when he squares off against Svetlozar Savov. The Bulgarian also makes his promotional debut, possessing a record of 12-4.

"Thunder," who chose his nickname based on Japanese pro wrestling legend, Jushin "Thunder" Liger -- because their names rhymed and he thinks highly of his fellow countryman -- believes his fight against Savov will be a difficult one, and anticipates stiff challenges in the middleweight division.

"WSOF has several powerful middleweight fighters, and I know that this would be a better challenge for me. Svetlozar Savov has high physical ability and I feel his movement of one is very powerful. He is a young, energetic fighter with an aggressive fighting style. But my skills are more evolved, and I will put pressure on him at all times an attack him with a wider range of skill. I'm sure this will bring me a victory."

The main goal doesn't change for Okami, and that's acquiring a major championship in the sport, something he's never had. After challenging for the middleweight strap twice in UFC, with victories over Hector Lombard, Mark Munoz, and Alan Belcher under his belt, the focus now lies on winning WSOF's middleweight championship.

That journey starts with a win over Savov.

"My main focus and only goal is to become the WSOF champion, and I'm going to start on that March 29 with Savov. Don't miss it!"

"World Series of Fighting 9: Carl vs. Palhares," which features a welterweight title fight between champ Steve Carl and challenger Rousimar Palhares, as well as Marlon Moraes vs. Josh Rettinghouse for the inaugural WSOF bantamweight title, takes place March 29, 2014 at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

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