Middleweight contender Yushin Okami (23-4), who was forced out of a UFC 98 bout against Dan Miller last month with a torn ligament, expects his next fight to take place in September.
“I’d torn my ligament around the end of April,” Okami told UFC.com. “I really wanted to fight (against Miller), but the doctor had stopped me. He told me I would recover by June if I sit still. Currently I’m focused on upper-body training, and by July I will be back to my usual regimen. I want to get back into the Octagon, if possible, to fight in September.”
Despite the injury, Okami remains the top 185-pound contender and is expected to be the next challenger for middleweight champ Anderson Silva (24-4) should he win his September return against an opponent to-be-named. Silva next fights in August in a light heavyweight contest against Forrest Griffin, but is expected to return to 185-pounds for a title defense later this year or in early-2010.
Okami defeated Silva via disqualification in their first meeting in January 2006 due to an illegal kick. Okami has gone 9-2 following the win, losing only to Jake Shields and Rich Franklin while picking up notable wins over Mike Swick, Jason MacDonald, and Evan Tanner. “Thunder” was last in action in December at UFC 92, defeating Dean Lister via unanimous decision.
Meanwhile, Silva has won 10-straight fights, including a record 9-straight UFC wins, to cement his status as the world’s top middleweight and one of the best pound-for found fighters.
“The records say I won but I really lost the match. But I believe because of this fight I’ve grown stronger. The next time I fight him things will be different. I am confident of that,” Okami concluded.
[Pictured: Yushin Okami]