Japanese middleweight Yushin Okami has been released by the UFC following an 18-fight run with the promotion that began in 2006.
ESPN.com confirmed Okami's release with UFC officials Friday.
Okami (29-8) is ranked as the No. 8 middleweight in the world, according to ESPN.com. His record in the UFC stands at 13-5, including a TKO loss to former 185-pound champion Anderson Silva in a 2011 title fight.
Okami suffered a first-round TKO loss to Ronaldo Souza at UFC Fight Night 28 earlier this month in Brazil. Prior to the loss, Okami had won three in a row.
UFC president Dana White has referred to Okami as the best fighter ever to emerge from Japan.
White, in a response to a fan question on Twitter, cited a "packed roster" as the reason behind Okami's release.