After Chris Weidman’s somewhat dominant title defense against Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort at May 23’s UFC 187, talk quickly turned to just who the “All-American” would battle next. Presumably the No. 1-contender, Luke Rockhold seemed to be at the forefront of these talks, but fans and media members weren’t sure when UFC president Dana White said that No. 2-ranked Ronald “Jacare” Souza would “probably” get the shot.
It seems as if the promotion has made a decision, as White appeared on last night’s edition of UFC Tonight to announce that Rockhold would indeed be getting the next shot at Weidman. Both men are arguably deserving of a title shot with Rockhold owning a four-fight winning streak including four finishes, while Souza is on an eight-fight winning streak, including five wins and four stoppages in the UFC; however, Rockhold has seemed to get the job done against tougher competition.
With White’s announcement coming last night, “Jacare” is now left in a limbo of sorts as to who he will face next. According to Souza’s manager, Gilberto Faira, who recently spoke with MMAFighting.com, a bout with Rockhold or Weidman is the only thing that makes sense for them right now:
“The only two fighters that make sense to ‘Jacare’ to fight are Weidman and Rockhold,” Faria said. “Nobody else makes sense at this point.”
Faria could be right, as “Jacare” has run rampant through every opponent put in front of him thus far, but waiting for the outcome of Weidman and Rockhold could be a daunting task, as a date has not been decided for that bout yet.
Earlier this year, Souza was set to face No. 6-ranked Yoel Romero on two occasions, but the bout fell through due a Souza illness and a Romero injury. “The Soldier of God” is now set to meet former champion and title contender Lyoto Machida in the main event of the The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Brazil Finale on June 27, 2015.
Faria admitted that the winner of Machida and Romero may be the only other thing that makes sense, just to keep “Jacare” active:
“We don’t have a official position yet,” Faria said. “The only fight that might make sense in the future, and to keep ‘Jacare’s’ rhythm for a future title shot, would be face the winner of Lyoto Machida vs. Yoel Romero. So doing that we will avoid ‘Jacare’ getting rusty from not fighting for the title belt.”
Despite not knowing the next move, Faria remained confident in his client, noting that the middleweight title is coming to “Jacare” sooner or later:
“It might take more time, but this UFC middleweight title is coming to ‘Jacare’, and whomever has it be ready to battle.”