It seems another fighter on the final Strikeforce card can breath easy, because Ronald Souza, like Nate Marquardt, has all but been guaranteed a spot in the UFC. It was announced today that Souza has signed a new five fight contract with Forza LLC., which is a subsidiary of Zuffa LLC. In fact, Forza is the company that runs Strikeforce, but as the fight company is set to cease operations in January, his contract is expected to be transferred to the UFC.
At the January Strikeforce, Souza has the pleasure of being the only fighter to face a UFC fighter, as Ed Herman steps in to patch the card. Souza was not originally set to be a part of the card, but he jumped onto it to face number one middleweight contender Lorenz Larkin on short notice, when champion Luke Rockhold dropped out. Larkin was struck with an injury of his own, creating the bout with Herman. The Herman and Souza bout will be contested at a catchweight of 193 pounds, likely due to the short notice over the holidays.
Souza has been one of the best middleweights for a long time, and probably the best jiu-jitsu practitioner at 185, now that Demian Maia has left the division. He was nearly the champion in Dream, but he was knocked out cold by an up kick from Gegard Mousasi. Souza holds notable wins over Jason Miller, Matt Lindland, Tim Kennedy, Robbie Lawler, and has submitted 12 of his 16 opponents. Even at age 33, Souza continues to get better, as he knocked recent UFC winner Derek Brunson out cold in 41 seconds of their bout. Souza is a welcomed addition to the middleweight division, and he adds even more depth to what used to be one of the UFC’s weakest divisions.