Okami Wants Silva Rematch; Marquardt Not Looking Ahead

By Chris Nelson Nov 11, 2010
It has been nearly five years since Yushin Okami (Pictured) fought Anderson Silva, but at a pre-fight press conference for UFC 122 on Thursday, it became clear that the current UFC middleweight champion is still on the Japanese fighter’s mind.

Okami -- who meets Nate Marquardt in the main event on Saturday at the Konig Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany, with a 185-pound title shot on the line -- was surprisingly direct when asked whether he prefers a rematch with Silva for the belt or a matchup with Vitor Belfort, who first challenges “The Spider” at UFC 126 in February.

“I’d like to fight against Mr. Anderson Silva,” Okami said.

In a January 2006 welterweight bout for the now-defunct Hawaiian promotion Rumble on the Rock, Silva was disqualified in the opening round for delivering an illegal upkick to the face of Okami, who was on both knees in Silva’s guard. It is an outcome with which Silva has since voiced his displeasure and one which has clearly left Okami with a bitter taste.

“Technically speaking, I won the fight, but I feel I lost that fight,” Okami said. “I admit that he’s a great fighter. That’s the only reason why I’d like to fight against him.”

Since his meeting with Silva, Okami has gone 11-3, including a 9-2 run in the UFC. Most recently, Okami took a split decision from powerhouse wrestler Mark Munoz in August.

While Okami’s answer was clear, his opponent declined to state a preference, or to look past his current task.

“Honestly, I don’t care,” Marquardt said. “I have a very tough opponent in front of me, and that’s what I’m focused on.”

Marquardt has also met Silva in the past, challenging for the UFC middleweight belt in July 2007, when he dropped a one-sided bout via first-round technical knockout. However, the Greg Jackson product claims it was his February decision loss to Chael Sonnen which changed his perspective on being a top contender.

“[It’s] not necessarily that I value it more, but when I lost to Chael, I kinda realized that I had lost a little bit of my desire, my fire to train,” said Marquardt. “My dream is to be the champion, and I think that reignited my fire. I got that now, and that’s how I can know that I’m gonna go out and fight my best.”
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