Many were quick to scoff at the UFC’s late signing of Chris Camozzi to face Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in the co-main event of this weekend’s (Sat., April 18, 2015) UFC on FOX 15 co-main event after Yoel Romero was hurt in training, but the simple fact of the matter was that he was just about the only conceivable middleweight available and willing to face the world’s top-ranked 185-pound fighter.
The fight, which is a rematch of their first UFC on FX 8 match-up which Jacare won by first round submission, is one that Camozzi has been trying to get back to ever since four straight losses saw him cut from the UFC in late 2014. Picking up in Denver-based promotion Prize FC, Camozzi won his only two bouts by first round finish to earn and defend their middleweight belt.
Now he’s back where he wants to be in the Octagon, and he believes that his constant contact with UFC matchmaker Joe Silva may have helped him stay on the promotion’s radar while he was not under contract. Camozzi detailed his return to the UFC in a recent interview with FOX Sports:
“I told my wife that I thought two wins in a row might be enough to get back in the UFC. I also thought someone would get injured and have to pull out [of a UFC fight], though, so I texted Joe Silva all the time.”
Soon Silva came calling when Romero was out, and he knew it was an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up:
“‘Were you serious about wanting to fight Jacare?’ I told him I definitely was.”
Camozzi went on to discuss his desire for revenge on Souza, which he believes is a necessary part of the fight game that every fighter should have in order to be one of the best. Just getting back into the UFC is a big step for him, as well:
“Obviously, you want to beat anyone who has beaten you before. If you don’t want to get back in there right away with anyone who has gotten the better of you, you’re in the wrong business. So, I definitely wanted to fight Souza again. I also just wanted to get back into the UFC and get back on track.”
Most expect Camozzi to get run over by Jacare once again, and there’s not much evidence to suggest otherwise given the massive, mountainous step up in competition that Camozzi has taken in terms of his current bout compared to his last.
It may be the biggest such discrepancy in MMA history, and would rank as one of the biggest upsets (if not the biggest) in the sport’s relatively young era were he to win.
The only way he can do that, he believes, is to come out firing and not show Jacare any respect:
“Obviously we’re looking at ‘Jacare’ and preparing for him, in particular. But, I can’t get too much into my own head, out there. When you do that, you can get hesitant to pull the trigger. We train hard and smart. Once the fight is on, we just need to go out there and let it go.”
Photo Credit: Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports