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Yushin Okami reflects on 'utter defeat' at the hands of Chael Sonnen at UFC 104




"It was a complete, utter defeat. Reflecting on the fight, I have thoughts like, 'I should have done this, I should have done that,' but they are indications that my ability as a fighter proved insufficient. Sonnen was tough. When I stuffed the first takedown, I found myself in the clinch position which is normally my domain; however, I was surprised to be scooped up from underneath and thrown on the mat when I tried to fire off a knee from the position. He was more powerful than I imagined, and left me confounded as to what I should do next, and he kept up with his offense. I have never experienced anything like this before. For this fight, I had the best training possible, so I am disappointed about this loss. At the same time, I think I saw the limitation of the environment in which I find myself in (in terms of training). In Japan, I inevitably face a shortage of training partners and I often find myself on the offensive during training. Though I try to improve and diversify my training routine, I probably hit the ceiling at some point. I have the option of uprooting myself and training overseas... if I continue to train in Japan, I feel that I will end up becoming complacent, so I want to go back to square one and challenge myself. I feel that there is a need for me to train with training partners who are bigger than me. In order to win in UFC, I have trained to not be taken down and end up on the bottom on the ground; I thought I had the right approach, but I had not thought about what I would do if I did end up in a disadvantageous position. I was lax in my approach. Losing my passport (NOTE: He lost his passport right before he flew out of Japan and arrived in LA a day later than was originally scheduled to) ? It had no bearing on the fight. With all that said, I am very glad that I got to fight a tough fighter like Chael Sonnen. I am disappointed because I have never experienced a loss like this -- it is up to me use this as a learning experience, so I would like to carefully ruminate how I can improve and implement (what I learned) in my fights."

The most telling part of this comment is his concern about not having the optimal training environment in Japan. Has he simply become too big and strong that he has exhausted the training partners who present a challenge with physical strength? Or has the training environment at his longtime home of Wajutsu Keishukai grown stale -- especially given the recent departure of some of the high-profile fighters (i.e. Caol Uno, Eiji Mitsuoka) from the camp?

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