Okami’s first appearance will take place this Friday, 3 May at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he will face off against dangerous Kyrgyz grapplerKiamrian Abbasov in a pivotal bout for the ONE welterweight division.
For Okami, the match-up represents the chance to compete in his native Asia once again and thrust himself into World Title contention with just one impressive performance.
Will Yushin Okami make a successful ONE debut? Or will Kiamrian Abbasov spoil the Japanese legend's welcoming party? Tune in on 3 May to find out!Jakarta | 3 May | 6:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneforhonor19
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, April 27, 2019
Despite competing at an elite level for most of his career, and coming close to the top, Okami has never won a mixed martial arts World Championship.
But he says the ups and downs of his 16-year, 47-bout mixed martial arts career have forged him into the best version of himself as he prepares to make a run at the gold on the global stage for martial arts.
“I’ve had no luck winning a title,” he admits.
“I’ve competed against some of the top mixed martial arts athletes, and although I’ve both won and lost by fighting against the best, I’ve been able to learn about my strengths and weaknesses, which is incredibly valuable to learn.
“All of these experiences have led to the person I am today, and I can confidently say I am the strongest Yushin Okami I have ever been. That’s because of the wins and losses I’ve experienced.
“Of course, I do what I do because I want to win, but, there are some things you can only gain by losing. Those experiences have made me into the person I am today, and those experiences have allowed me to acquire my strength.”
While he may still be searching for his first belt, Okami’s stellar career has nonetheless seen him defeat several World Champions and earn a reputation as one of the best athletes to emerge from Japan.
That is something that makes him proud, but he wants to transcend his home nation’s borders.
“It makes me happy to be recognized [as number one in Japan], but, my goal is to be number one in the world,” he states.
“Even beyond being number one in something, my desire to prove myself as a martial artist is stronger. So, it doesn’t make me extremely happy, but I appreciate the recognition.”
Okami has the chance to take a big step toward a match against ONE Welterweight World Champion Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam in Jakarta, but his toughness is likely to be significantly tested against Abbasov.
The 25-year-old’s most recent performance saw him produce a brilliant display to dominate, and then finish Agilan “Alligator” Thani at ONE: DESTINY OF CHAMPIONS last July.
Okami plans on using all of his experience to shut down his young rival’s dangerous offense, earn a crucial victory on his debut, and make a statement to the rest of the ONE welterweight division – though he will not be drawn on talk of a World Title shot yet.
“Right now, I’m not thinking about the future. I’m focusing only on the fight in front of me, one at a time,” he says.
“On 3 May in Jakarta, I’m going to give it my all. I promise to show everyone the strongest Yushin Okami they’ve ever seen.”
Part of that goal is to be a first-class ambassador for Japanese combat sports in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
After carrying the flag for his country around the world for almost two decades, the EXFight athlete has already represented his homeland with distinction.
Now that he has arrived on the biggest platform of his career, he is determined to show fans across the globe how warriors from “The Land Of The Rising Sun” can match the planet’s best competitors.
3 MAY. JAKARTA. World Champions collide in the main event of ONE: FOR HONOR as Sam-A defends his ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Title against English phenom, Jonathan Haggerty! Plus, the ONE debut of world-renowned mixed martial arts superstar Yushin Okami!Jakarta | 3 May | 6:30PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneforhonor19
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, April 13, 2019
“Of course, I want to represent Japan. I’m very proud of the fact that I am Japanese and that I learned budō in Japan, and that I learned mixed martial arts in Japan,” he says.
“I’m proud to show the mixed martial arts I’ve learned in Japan to the world, by competing in ONE Championship. I think this fight will show how good I really am. My intention is to go in and win the welterweight belt, so this is a very important fight for me.
“I can’t wait to compete in ONE, and I hope to give everyone watching entertainment, I hope they can feel the spirit of budō, and I hope they can feel my passion as an athlete.”
Jakarta | 3 May | 6:00PM | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneforhonor1