UFC middleweight contender Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza has lofty goals for his next Octagon appearance. According to UFC Tonight, the No. 4 ranked Souza wants either a title fight next or a matchup against fellow Brazilian Vitor Belfort.
Souza is currently recovering from elbow surgery and itching to get back to action. According to his manager Gilberto Faria, “Jacare” would be willing to step in at UFC 175 if either champion Chris Weidman or challenger Lyoto Machida were forced out of their July 5 clash because of an injury. If that fight does happen as scheduled, Souza wants to take on the winner but would settle for a clash against the No. 3 rated Belfort.
The 34-year-old former Strikeforce champion has been highly impressive in his UFC tenure, posting three consecutive victories. He’s coming off a unanimous decision victory over Francis Carmont at Fight Night 36 in February. Souza’s biggest Octagon statement came when he blasted out seasoned veteran and former title challenger Yushin Okami in one round.
“Jacare” has emerged as a legitimate title threat in the 185-pound division as he possesses tremendous strength, superb submission skills and a much-improved striking game. He’s reeled off six straight victories, including five finishes, since his last loss in 2011 against Luke Rockhold in a Strikeforce title fight. Souza has a 20-3 record with one no-contest with 14 of those victories coming by submission.
A fight against the surging Belfort would be an excellent matchup for the UFC to consider. It would certainly be an explosive headliner for an event in Brazil. “The Phenom” is still fuming after losing his title shot to “The Dragon” after the Nevada State Athletic Commission voted to ban TRT.
UFC President Dana White has previously stated that Belfort will face the Weidman-Machida winner if he gets his business in order with the Nevada commission. Belfort had a previous black mark with NSAC because of a positive drug test back in 2006 that led to a suspension.
Souza clearly has his sights set on the big prize when he returns and would pose a formidable challenge for whoever has the belt after the Weidman-Machida fight or Belfort. He’s aiming to test himself against the division’s best in his next assignment and is deserving of that high-profile opportunity.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports