Exclusive: Yushin Okami Talks Title Aspirations In WSOF, UFC Release and Rebuilding Japanese MMA With Ray Sefo

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As another stacked World Series of Fighting’s card draws near, fight fans are eager to see the most star-studded event yet from the growing promotion. WSOF 9 features top-notch talent from the bottom of the undercard, to the highly anticipated main event between Steve Carl and Rousimar Palhares for the welterweight strap. One of the most intriguing additions to the WSOF roster is none other than middleweight powerhouse, Yushin “Thunder” Okami. Following his shocking release from the UFC, Okami quickly signed with WSOF and is set to make his debut this Saturday against Svetlozar Savov.

ProMMANow was granted an interview with Okami before he steps into the cage to reaffirm his spot amongst the best middleweight athletes on the planet.

Question from ProMMA’s Kinch in bold.

Answers from Mr. Okami are italicized.

First off, how is preparation for Svetlozar going thus far?

“I am doing everything well.”

Savov is certainly a game opponent for your WSOF debut, where do you feel he is most dangerous?

“He has high physical ability and I feel his movement is very powerful. I want to (be careful of) his submission.”

Tell me about signing with WSOF. Did they contact you? Was there any hesitation to join the roster?

“WSOF contacted me. I signed without hesitation because I feel the significance of fighting in North America.”

Have you signed a multi-fight deal? If so, how many fights on your contract?

“I cannot talk about my contract by contractual obligations.” 

Your release from the UFC was shocking to many in the MMA community. What was your initial reaction to the release and do you feel it was justifiable for the UFC to release you for being a “gatekeeper”?

“I was surprised at first, but I always prepared for the worst when I lose, so I recovered my composure with time. You can find out if my release was justifiable or not from my future fight.” 

What did your long time friend and training partner Chael Sonnen have to say about your release? Did he give you any advice?

“He spoke with me about my release and gave his advice without words, by training.”

You have had a long and illustrious career so far, what is the plan for your time with WSOF?

“I want to fight with a satisfiable game, and from there on, I’m planning to be a champion.”

Are you looking to stay with this promotion or follow in the footsteps of Anthony Johnson and fight your way back to the UFC?

“I am not thinking about it now. First, I will win my next fight with full force.”

What has your experience been with WSOF and Ray Sefo thus far?

“Mr. Sefo told me that he loves Japan and he wants Japanese MMA to rise again. I want to help him realize that with all my might.”

All the athletes they have under contract have high praise for how they are treated, would you agree? 

“It’s a new promotion, so I think lots of things will happen, but I agree.”

How does the WSOF differ from the UFC in terms of how things are run?

“Nothing different.

Tell me about your evolution as a fighter in regards to your current situation. What kind of changes have you made in your training to ensure that you remain a top middleweight?

“Now I am having my training camp in Japan. I’m getting back to basics, and also new movements. I’m confident that I’m having the best training.”

What more do you wish to accomplish in MMA? Another title?

“I aim to be the strongest middleweight fighter, that won’t change anytime. First of all, I will be a WSOF middleweight champion.”

Back to the fight. How do you visualize this fight going down and how do you get your hand raised at the end of the night?

“His fight style is aggressive, so it will match with my fight style which is more evolved. I’ll do my best in all areas and I believe that will bring me a victory.”

 Why should fans tune in on March 29th?

“Because you can see a newly evolved Yushin Okami!”

Be sure to tune in for WSOF 9: Carl vs Palhares live this Saturday at9pm ET/ 6pm PT only on NBCSports. Check your local listings.

@KinchMMA

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