Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza is officially the number two ranked middleweight in the UFC; and in the opinion of most observers, is next in line for a shot at UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman.
But with the champ scheduled to face Vitor Belfort (in a bout that has already been pushed back to February), the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace finds himself left on the shelf — and, despite being still on the mend from elbow surgery, is getting antsy to get back into the Octagon.
Jacare’s coach Jousel Distak told Sherdog.com yesterday that he has a solution which may come as a surprise.
“I believe Jacare already proved that he deserves a shot at the middleweight title,” said Distak, “but, once he’s recovered from this second elbow surgery in January, it’s the same time as Chris and Belfort, so what can we do? I like the idea of putting Jacare in a special light heavyweight fight.”
“I truly believe that, with the exception of Rafael ‘Feijao’ (Cavalcante) and Rogerio ‘Minotoro’ (Nogueira), Jacare can fight anyone in that division,” Distak continued, “as preparation to face the winner of Vitor and Chris. I don’t think it’s fair that Jacare should cut weight to fight in the division where he’s ranked No. 2.”
Distak described Dan Henderson as a possible opponent, calling the American “a legend” and noting that “fans would love to see that matchup.”
Henderson’s jiu-jitsu coach Ricardo Feliciano responded to Sherdog today by saying Distak was putting Jacare “in a bad spot,” but was open for the challenge.
However, he disagreed about the weight division in which the bout should take place.
“I can’t see a reason for it to be a light heavyweight bout,” Feliciano said. “If he wants to fight ‘Hendo’ let it be at 185. If you ask for a fight, you have to assume some sort of responsibility, or be careful what you ask for.”