When Yoel Romero withdrew from next Saturday’s (April 18, 2015) UFC on FOX 15 co-main event from Newark, New Jersey, due to a knee injury, No. 1-ranked Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza was left searching for a new opponent on extremely short notice.
That’s not an easy thing to find, however, as the dominant Brazilian jiu-jitsu wizard has seven straight fights, including all four of his bouts since Strikeforce was absorbed by Zuffa in 2013.
But his team apparently has someone in mind, with his manager Gilberto Faria informing MMAFighting.com that they’re eying a particular foe who already has a high-profile coming up soon at April 25’s UFC 186, ironically enough:
“He’s the kind of guy that has balls and wouldn’t say no to a fight. Looking at all the other guys out there right now that would be a great fight for ‘Jacare’ and someone that would be ready by April 18. That person that crossed my mind to get people excited — to get ‘Jacare’ excited — is Michael Bisping. If that happens, it’ll be a great show. We’ll see.”
Apparently Jacare isn’t planning on waiting around much longer after withdrawing from his previously scheduled UFC 184 bout against Romero. He’s ready to fight now, and he only wants to take on top competition:
“‘Jacare’ is ready to fight the best. ‘Jacare’ is ready to fight the champ right now. He wants to fight someone at the top or else it makes no sense.”
Bisping’s manager Audie Attar was subsequently contacted by MMA Fighting, and not surprisingly, Bisping isn’t exactly in a rush to take on a dominating force like Jacare. The longtime veteran has spent the past months training for power wrestler C.B Dollaway, and facing Souza isn’t in the cards right now. He is interested in possibly fighting him somewhere down the line, however:
“We trained for C.B. Dollaway and that’s only a couple weeks out. To switch it out for ‘Jacare’ doesn’t make sense, but we’d love to fight him after this fight.”
With all of the top middleweights currently booked or on the sidelines dealing with various issues, there aren’t many (if any) elite 185-pounders available for Jacare to fight on such short notice. Because of that, Attar believes Souza’s team is trying to get the biggest name with any small possibility of taking the fight, and that’s Bisping:
“Everybody wants a piece of Bisping. Bisping is so marketable. People just want that. They want that opportunity. It’s their right to want that and likewise. Mike definitely would love to face him. He’s definitely on the list.”
“The Count” is certainly marketable, but with two recent lopsided losses to top-ranked contenders Luke Rockhold, who faces Lyoto Machida in the UFC on FOX 15 headliner, and Tim Kennedy, he can’t be considered a true title contender given the dangerous current of the crowded UFC 185-pound talent pool.
This is probably the only time Bisping would be able to get a fight against Souza, but it’s hard to argue with his stance that the timing just isn’t right. Will Souza find a replacement victim opponent in time for next weekend?
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