While most people will always recall the violent accomplishments of Vitor Belfort in 2013, another fighter who’s made some noise in the UFC middleweight division this year is Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (in addition to Chris Weidman of course…). After all, thanks to first round wins over Chris Camozzi and former #1 contender Yushin Okami, the feared grappler is already in the title shot mix.
While following his stoppage victory over Okami at UFC FN 28, Souza said he was up for bouts at light-heavyweight, it sounds like the 33 year-old’s changed his tune. While speaking recently to MMA Fighting.com, Souza confirmed that only middleweights are on his radar screen for now.
“I haven’t done anything in my division yet,” Souza said. “I still have a lot to prove in the middleweight division, and I can’t focus on other division now. I have a big challenge in front of me and there are a lot of fighters I still have to fight at 185.”
Of course, many would argue that taking out the ridiculously tough Okami is far from “nothing”, but you can see where Souza’s going with this. If “Jacare” wants to fight for the title, he needs to defeat at least one or two more top contenders. On that note, the UFC recently announced “Jacare” will face the #8 ranked Francis Carmont at UFC Fight Night 36, February 15th.
“It will be a great fight,” Souza said about the bout which will go down in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil. “He’s a tough opponent, is coming off six consecutive wins in the UFC. I was already expecting to fight him next, and it’s going to be a brawl. It’s always special to fight in Brazil, in front of my fans. They cheer for you and that gives you an extra power to get the win.”
Although many people seemed to be a wee bit surprised by the Souza-Carmont booking, it certainly is a massive fight for both. Most recently, Carmont worked his way to a UD win over Costa Philippou at UFC 165 to move into the top ten ranks.