Maybe UFC middleweight number one contender Yushin Okami is afraid of "Spiders."
Or, maybe he was just looking for a way out when he first tangled with Anderson Silva at Rumble on the Rock way back in 2006, when the Japanese import was awarded a controversial disqualification (DQ) win over the Brazilian due to an illegal upkick.
A kick Silva claims wouldn't have been thrown if he had been "properly apprised of the rules."
Okami's "victory," which came at 2:33 of the very first round, was the last "defeat" on Silva's fight record, which has since boasted 14 straight wins with 12 finishes.
Now, "The Spider" looks to finish what he started over five years ago in Hawaii when they rematch on Aug. 27 and tells the LA Times he could have finished it right there in Honolulu if Okami hadn't used the upkick as an excuse "not to continue fighting."
"I was a little surprised with his reaction to that. 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 ... The thing I always demand is respect. I respect everybody and have a history in the sport and I believe people need to respect me. When they cross that line of respect is when they don’t really understand what happens. And things happen to them that they never imagined would happen. To me, you have to keep respect. When you don’t, not good things are going to happen to you."
Okami has built an impressive Octagon resume of his own, winning 10 of his 12 fights with the UFC, the most recent of which, over Nate Marquardt in Germany, earned him a long-awaited shot at the middleweight crown.
Fight fans have given "Silva vs. Okami II" at UFC "Rio" a lukewarm reception thanks largely in part to the Brazilian's dominance over the past four years and have instead been calling for a Georges St. Pierre "super fight" if the 170-pound champion can successfully defend his title against Jake Shields at UFC 129 on April 30 in Toronto.
Is Okami getting overlooked in the middleweight division? Does he pose a credible threat to Silva's reign or has he been using the 2006 "win" to jimmy his way back into a "Spider" fight?