For the first time in quite a long time, the UFC’s middleweight division is booming with contenders, all longing for a chance to dethrone current champion Chris Weidman. Atop this list of hungry contenders, right behind former champion and returning superstar Anderson Silva, sits surging Brazilian Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza at No. 2.

“Jacare” is currently riding an impressive seven-fight win streak that dates back to his Strikeforce days in 2012. Since joining the UFC, Souza has looked possibly even more dangerous, picking up wins over notable names like Yushin Okami and Francis Carmont. His last win when he took out former contender Gegard Mousasi last September via third round submission, however, was his biggest victory.

Although his resume speaks for itself regarding whether or not he deserves a title shot, Weidman was already lined up to take on Vitor Belfort at UFC 184 in February, which is why Souza agreed to take on No. 6-ranked Yoel Romero at that very same event.

A win over Romero should be the icing on the cake to already worthy title shot, but it seems as if “Jacare’s” long awaited title shot may have to wait even longer.

UFC president Dana White appeared on Wednesday’s (January 7, 2015) edition of UFC Tonight to make it clear that if Silva is victorious in his return bout against Nick Diaz at UFC 183 later this month, that he will get the next shot at middleweight gold.

However, according to “Jacare’s” manager Gilberto Faria who spoke with, Souza will do what he has to at UFC 184 in order to change White’s mind about the next title contender:

“Dana is doing his job, which is to promote fights. Anderson Silva doing a great fight and with his history, he could go directly to a title fight. It’s up to the top fighters of the division (like) Ronaldo ‘Jacare’, Yoel Romero, Lyoto Machida and Luke Rockhold, who are going after their chances for the title, to, when they fight, change Dana White’s mind. That can happen at any time.

“Dana is always there, close to the fence, seeing who’s who, reacting to every fight and to the crowd. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dana White announces Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ as the next contender on Feb. 28,” he continued. “He makes the call and he will always do what he thinks it’s best for the UFC. At the end of the day, it’s Dana White’s job to promote fights and generate money for Zuffa.

“Fans, media and even the fighter, with his performance during the fight, can influence Dana’s decision. I believe Jacare is, today, the fighter with most credentials to earn a title shot, and a win over a tough fighter like Yoel Romero will prove that.”

At 4-0 inside of the Octagon, “Jacare” is definitely one of the elite at 185 pounds. Faria believes he would match up great with either Weidman or Belfort:

“Weidman and Belfort are great fights for ‘Jacare’, and I believe a lot of people want to watch it,” Faria said. “What I can guarantee is that Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ is ready for any challenge to come.”

From a business perspective it wouldn’t be too surprising for Silva to get a shot at the belt if he beats Diaz, but if “Jacare” beats Romero, it’s hard to deny his success inside of the cage.

Who do you think should be next to challenge for middleweight gold?