UFC middleweight Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (26-6-1) last competed at UFC 230, where he knocked out Chris Weidman in a fight that earned both men ‘Fight of the Night’ honors.
Although he looked impressive in his last Octagon outing, the Brazilian is 2-2 in his last four fights, suffering crucial losses to Kelvin Gastelum and middleweight champion Robert Whittaker.
“Jacare” recently spoke with Ariel Helwani about his upcoming rematch with Yoel Romero, as well as why he disagrees with Israel Adesanya getting an interim title shot.
Revisiting his controversial split decision defeat to Yoel Romero in 2015, “Jacare” shared that he still believes he “100 percent won that fight.”
“This time I make sure the fight doesn’t go to the judges.”
He will rematch Romero at UFC on ESPN 3, on April 27 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This time the fight is scheduled for five rounds, and he remains adamant on “destroying” his foe.
“He’s tough, but I’m tough like him. He’s not tougher than me man. When I go there, I’m gonna destroy him.”
His opponent, Yoel Romero, is yet to be finished in the UFC and harnesses one of the best chins on the roster. If “Jacare” is to pull off the task of finishing the former title contender, he’ll have to be at his very best.
Fighting for the title
Israel Adesanya has only been in the UFC for little over a year, however, the Nigerian has fought five times for the promotion, extending his record to an impressive 16-0. The former kickboxing champion is scheduled to face top-ranked Kelvin Gastelum for the interim title at UFC 236, with the winning receiving the next opportunity to fight middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker.
When asked about his opinion on Adesanya fighting for a belt, “Jacare” never held back.
“I don’t know why they have put him to fight for the title. He hasn’t done enough because he [has] never fought against top fighters. Ok, he beat Derek Brunson – I’m a jiu-jitsu fighter, [and] I beat Brunson twice, and the second time, when I kicked Derek Brunson’s head, my eyes were closed. I did better than him [Adesanya], twice.”
The Brazilian has two first-round knockouts over Derek Brunson, the latest being in January 2018.
On top of this, Souza spoke about his split decision loss to Kelvin Gastelum and claimed that he was sick while competing inside the Octagon.
“I had a bad problem cutting weight. I had a bad week, but I [did] my best inside the octagon. I believe I won the second [round]. I believe I won the first and third round.”
“When I fought him I was sick. He won the fight, the fight was very close, [a] split decision – but if you [UFC] give him that rematch, I wanna kill this guy.”
Despite previously being ranked as the number one middleweight in the UFC, “Jacare” has yet to compete for a title, but with a win over Romero, he expects a shot. Nonetheless, he acknowledges that life goes on, and will pursue other lifelong dreams outside of MMA if his plan does come to fruition.
“If UFC don’t give me the chance, I wanna open a jiu-jitsu school,” said “Jacare,” and when asked about retirement, he optimistically stated “probably.”
Ronaldo Souza is a legend in both the jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts world. He holds wins over the likes of Robbie Lawler, Chris Weidman, and Vitor Belfort – three former UFC champions. The jiu-jitsu world champion sounds content about the thought of retiring, a decision that may shock the entirety of MMA. He has been one of the finest ambassadors for the UFC and is a true sportsman.
Savor “Jacare” while you can, because there might not be much more left.
Steven is a Mixed Martial Arts journalist and analyst from the United Kingdom.