Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza was unable to take the replacement fight with Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 due to a knee injury, leading to plenty of comments directed his way from the man who wound up in that fight: Michael Bisping.
The Brazilian middleweight challenger responded to Bisping’s taunts this week in an interview with Guilherme Cruz at MMAFighting.com, and he didn’t seem too bothered by them.
“[Bisping] is in the UFC for a long time, but that means nothing,” Souza responded. “I fought the guy that knocked him out, so no way he’s in front of me. The guys I beat are tougher than the ones he defeated. Time means nothing, what really means is what you’ve done to earn it. I earned it. They called me on short notice and I couldn’t take it, but I’m next. No need to say anything else. My loss to Romero was a robbery and then he got caught. Weidman won’t return until November. And I beat Vitor up, so I’m next.
“But I wish him good luck, a good fight. He can say whatever he wants, and I’ll say what I want. I hope he does a good fight. He’s in the UFC for 10 years and does a good job, so I hope he fights well.”
As to why he couldn’t take the fight himself, Souza detailed the timeline of the injury and his reasoning for getting surgery rather than fighting through at UFC 199 as he did at UFC 198.
“Honestly, I didn’t know I’d get hurt so bad,” Souza said. “I felt the pain before UFC 198, but was well trained and strong, so I didn’t train for a week. I felt the knee again during the fight. I was devastated because I did the MRI on May 16 and on May 17 I got the news that Weidman was injured. If I knew about it, I wouldn’t even do the MRI [laughs]. I had to open the black box to see what was going on with my knee.
“It was a clean surgery, and I’m walking normally now. I had to do this surgery. I had a meniscus injury, and it would definitely get worse if I didn’t do this now,” he continued. “I was physically well in the fight, could move normally. Everybody has injuries going into a fight, it’s impossible to be 100 percent, but thank God I had the best strategy and won.
“I was going to say yes [and fight at UFC 199], but the MRI was done. I couldn’t just ignore the results. Healthy first. I’m a Christian man, so I prayed. Whatever was in the MRI results would determine my future, if I would take the fight or not. The doctor told me ‘you fought Belfort for five minutes and can’t walk now. Imagine yourself fighting Rockhold for 25 minutes. You’ll lose your leg.’ I decided not to fight because of my health.”
Penick’s Analysis: “Jacare” made the right call in taking care of the injury and waiting to fight another day. With Chris Weidman’s more serious surgery taking him out of UFC 199 in the first place, he might be out significantly longer than Souza, which makes “Jacare” the next choice if Rockhold gets past Bisping quickly. He’s the No. 1 contender right now, rightfully so, and while Bisping’s getting to step in to this UFC 199 slot by default, it’s highly unlikely he does much with the shot. Now, everything’s blown up if Bisping wins that fight, because Rockhold would almost assuredly get the trilogy bout under the circumstances, but that’s a bridge we’ll cross when necessary.
[Photo (c) Jason Silva via USA Today Sports]
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