Former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza continues to find himself just outside of a fight for the UFC Middleweight Championship, and he’s not keen on waiting much longer for that fight.
In an interview with Combate in Brazil, Souza said his time is long past due, and after he beats Yoel Romero at UFC 194, he expects a title fight next, and joked that he’ll go up the ladder after UFC President Dana White if it doesn’t happen.
“Rockhold sure cut the line, he wasn’t supposed to be next,” he said (translated by Lucas Rezende at BloodyElbow.com). “My title shot is long overdue, my friend. Here’s the deal, in case I beat Romero, which is what will happen, I’m going after Dana. I can’t go after the matchmaker, because Joe Silva is too small. Dana is a bit bigger. I’m next. I don’t care who wins or loses the next title fight. I want to beat Romero, a really tough guy. I will defeat him and I will be next.”
As to whom he’d like to face between Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold – who fight for that title in the UFC 194 co-main event – “Jacare” says it doesn’t matter so long as the title’s on the line.
“I only think about getting the belt,” Souza said. “It doesn’t matter if it will be from Luke or Chris. What I want is to be the champion. That Rockhold fight is long gone, but it would be good to have the opportunity to fight him again. I asked for that fight several times back in Strikeforce, I don’t know why it never happened.”
Penick’s Analysis: If Souza defeats Romero, there’s no more denying him a title fight. He’ll be the most deserving challenger by a wide margin, and it’ll be the clear fight to make. Now, the one caveat to that is if Rockhold defeats Weidman in a close fight, because the UFC may turn around to put them on the planned New York card in a rematch. Still, if Rockhold crushes Weidman, the Rockhold-Jacare rematch should happen. If Weidman takes out Rockhold, Weidman-Jacare in New York could be big (provided that event goes forward). Regardless, Souza can’t be kept out of that slot forever.
[Photo (c) Jason Silva via USA Today Sports]