It looks like surging middleweight Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza’s quest towards a UFC 185-pound title shot will be on hold yet again.
On an eight-fight wining streak after submitting old foe Chris Camozzi in the co-main event of April 18’s UFC on FOX 15 from New Jersey, Ariel Helwani just reported on UFC Tonight that the brutalizing mat wizard has surprisingly undergone surgery for a partially torn meniscus in his left knee suffered in the fight.
Apparently Souza underwent surgery last Wednesday and is hoping to tentatively return in September. Jacare’s camp called out for a fight with top-ranked contender Luke Rockhold or a title shot, but it’s tough to say that he’ll be guaranteed either fight. Souza has easily cut a path through the ultra-talented UFC middleweight division since coming over from Strikeforce in 2013, and his camp believes there simply isn’t another fight that makes sense for the decorated Brazilian Jiu-jitsu master.
A main roadblock to him getting his coveted title shot later this fall is the fact that his last loss did come to Rockhold in a thrilling five-round war at 2011’s Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov. The AKA product edged Jacare by unanimous decision that night, and with his recent submission win over former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida (also at UFC on FOX 15), Rockhold should hold the inner track towards a shot at the winner of Saturday’s UFC 187 co-main event between Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort.
Machida was also booked for a short turnaround to face Yoel Romero in the main event of the TUF Brazil 4 Finale on June 27, and many thought it was an odd pairing given that Jacare already had two fights with the ‘Solider of God’ fall apart due to different ailments to both fighters.
We now know why, and now that Souza is faced with a somewhat lengthy stay on the sidelines, he certainly could find himself fighting the winner of that bout for the next No. 1 contender spot when he returns.