Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza is coming off an impressive first round knockout of Yushin Okami, the Brazilian grappling ace made short work of ‘Thunder’ at UFC fight night: Teixeira vs. Bader. The question on many fans lips is ‘what’s next’?
Souza is unbeaten since 2011, scoring four first round finishes in a row, as well as a third round submission of Bristol Marunde. Souza currently fights at 185lbs. in the same division as training partner and friend Anderson Silva. Although Souza has been open about his title aspirations, and furthermore fighting Silva (if he is able to regain the belt), his coach Josuel Distak has spoke to Portal Do Vale Tudo to clarify the situation:
We’re in UFC hands, we’re employees. Jacare is always going a step up. Jacare will fight in two divisions”, the coach said. “Everything will depend on Anderson’s fight with [Chris] Weidman.
If Anderson wins, we will go up in weight and take Jon Jones’ belt. We will prove to the world we have character and that we don’t fight each other. This is X-Gym’s history. Jacare is ready to fight one weight category up as well as middleweight.”
So Jacare is now unwilling to fight Silva for the title, but even more interesting is the prospect of Jacare fighting at LHW for the first time. The Souza that destroyed Okami is a scary dude; his striking looked light years ahead of the Jacare that fought in Strikeforce. Pair that with his ADCC certified grappling and you have s solid base for a champion.
Well roundedness is a huge factor for any aspiring MMA champion, gone are the days where Tito Ortiz could dominate simply with ground and pound. One-dimensional fighters are becoming a thing of the past, making way for a new breed of complete athletes.
Among this new breed, Jacare is rapidly emerging as a serious threat. The guy looked like an absolute tank against Okami, who is no pushover, and I would be very interested to see how he fared in the 205lb. category.
It may be a bit premature for Souza’s coach to be talking about a Light-Heavyweight title shot, given the top five situation there, but this could be a good mover for the Brazilian.
Anyone think The Alligator would stand a chance in the higher weight class? Bottom photo courtesy of Esther Lin/Forza LLC