During the peak of his powers in the UFC middleweight division, Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza was often on the cusp of a shot at gold, however, fell short on one such occasion, and subsequently failed to reach loftier heights again.

Confirming his retirement from professional mixed martial arts two weeks ago, Souza left the UFC following the completion of his contract after a first round armbar loss to Andre Muniz at UFC 262 back in May where he suffered a fractured humerus.

The decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu maestro had enjoyed a rather successful run in the UFC between 2013 and 2018, which involved many links to a shot at middleweight gold, particularly during the reign of both Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping back in 2017. 

Souza, who was originally offered a shot at then-champion and past-foe, Rockhold’s middleweight title ahead of UFC 199 after former gold holder, Chris Weidman had suffered an injury, himself chose to undergo a surgical procedure, ruling him from proceedings in a short-notice pairing.

Ultimately, the UFC landed on the aforenoted, Bisping who took home the undisputed middleweight title with a gold-clinching knockout win over Rockhold in a rematch, while Souza returned in a second round knockout loss to eventual gold holder, Robert Whittaker in April 2017. 

Rather than waiting on a title challenge against Bisping, who elected to meet with the returning Georges St-Pierre rather than Souza or multiple time title-challenger, Yoel Romero — the Brazilian met with Whittaker. And with a second round knockout loss, his title aspirations were quashed. 

Speaking with MMA Fighting recently, Souza, a former Strikeforce middleweight kingpin admitted that he made a mistake by not holding out for a shot at UFC middleweight gold whilst reflecting on his career in the promotion.

I don’t keep overthinking things that happened in the past, I always aim in at the future,” Souza explained. “I think that when someone keeps talking too much about the past it’s because he’s afraid of the future.

But I do believe I’ve made a mistake,” Souza admitted. “People that were with me have made mistakes. For example, could have put my foot down and said, ‘No, now we’ll wait and fight when it’s our turn (for a title shot).’ That didn’t happen, but I can’t cry about it now. If there were mistakes made, I think that’s it.

The 41-year-old 10-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world championship victor, managed to turn in an eye-catching nine wins during his tenure under the Dana White-led banner, lodging victories over Chris Camozzi (x2), Yushin Okami, Francis Carmont, Gegard Mousasi, Vitor Belfort, Tim Boetsch, Derek Brunson, and in his last Octagon victory, knocked out the aforenoted, Weidman at UFC 230 in November 2018. 

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.