Yushin Okami released from the UFC

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Middleweight contender Yushin Okami, a staple of Zuffa's top-10 rankings for years, received his release from the UFC on Friday.

Promotion officials confirmed the news to MMAFighting.com.

Okami (29-8), the UFC's No. 6 ranked middleweight at the time of his release, departs on the heels of a brutal first-round TKO loss to former Strikeforce champion Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza in early September. The loss snapped a three-fight win streak, which included momentum killing victories over Alan Belcher and Hector Lombard.

Dubbed "the best fighter to ever come out of Japan" by UFC President Dana White, Okami competed inside the Octagon for seven years, compiling a 13-5 record within the Zuffa fold.

After winning 10 of his first 12 UFC contests, Okami's career peaked in 2011 with a opportunity to challenge then UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Headlining the UFC's first event held in Brazil since 1998, Okami lost to Silva via second-round TKO.

Still just 32 years old, Okami exits the UFC having only stumbled against Silva, Souza, Chael Sonnen, Rich Franklin and Tim Boetsch. He holds notable victories over Mark Munoz, Nate Marquardt, Mike Swick, Evan Tanner, Belcher (x2) and Lombard.

UPDATE:

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