Jacare Souza was going to decline a short-notice fight with Jack Hermansson until the UFC promised him a title shot with a win.
Souza takes on Hermansson in the main event of UFC Fort Lauderdale on Saturday. The Brazilian was originally supposed to face Yoel Romero in a rematch before the latter pulled out with pneumonia.
That led to new negotiations that Jacare described as a “stressful” period.
“These negotiations were very stressful to me,” Souza told Combate (via Bloody Elbow). “At first, I was supposed to fight Romero, I was really excited, I like rematches, he’s a tough guy, number one in the rankings. When I heard he was down with pneumonia, it was complicated.
“A while after, they offered me [Paulo Costa], they told me he had accepted the fight. I wasn’t really too into that fight, but I talked to my manager and he told me was a young guy who had some good wins, so I accepted it. A while later, he changed his mind. He had four full weeks to train, a young man like himself should have had no trouble making weight, but he was smart. It’s not a good idea to fight me with just four weeks to train. The only one who is stupid and crazy enough to do stupid things like that is me.”
When a fight with Costa didn’t come to fruition, Jacare was not going to accept any other fight, much less one with Hermansson who just broke into the top 10 of the rankings.
However, the UFC promised the former Strikeforce champion that he would get a crack at the winner of Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya if he took and won the fight.
“I was not going to take (the Hermansson fight) at all,” Jacare explained. “There were 10 days of negotiations, everybody was putting a lot of pressure on me, until Dana White, Mick Maynard and the UFC promised that if I won the fight, I would fight for the belt.
“We have this deal and I hope they deliver. I’m doing my part, I’m ready to fight, make weight and put on a good performance.”
Jacare has won four of his last six fights and is 9-3 in his UFC career overall, but is yet to receive a title shot. A win on Saturday could finally change that.