UFC Middleweight Jacare Souza Reminds Us, ‘I’m the No. 1 Contender’

April 19, 2015

UFC on Fox 15 on Saturday in Newark, N.J. did little to determine who would get the next title shot in the middleweight division. Top ranked Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza made quick work of late replacement Chris Camozzi, while fourth-ranked Luke Rockhold dismantled second-ranked Lyoto Machida at the Prudential Center.

Souza was scheduled to face sixth-ranked Yoel Romero on the fight card, but Romero was forced out of the fight six days before the event due to a knee injury.

Rockhold believes he deserves to fight the winner of the May 23 title bout between champion Chris Weidman and third-ranked Vitor Belfort. Souza is undefeated inside the Octagon and is the highest ranked 185-pound non-titleholder in the division.

Jacare-Souza-305-SF-750x370“I believe 100-percent that it’s my time. I’m the No. 1 contender,” said the 35-year old Souza.

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Rockhold does hold a win over Souza, however. Rockhold defeated Souza by unanimous decision in September 2011 to capture the Strikeforce middleweight belt. Souza believes the judges got it wrong that night.

“I fought Luke a long time ago. Everybody knows he didn’t beat me,” he said.

UFC president Dana White typically doesn’t play matchmaker immediately following an event, and he didn’t on Saturday. The UFC executive took a wait-and-see stance when asked about who would fight for the title next.

“These guys just fought. Let’s see how they feel in a couple of days. Let’s see how this Belfort and Weidman fight goes down,” said White.

Having two viable contenders deserving of the title shot isn’t a bad situation for a promoter. The organization has options.

“It’s a good problem to have. Both guys performed unbelievable. I don’t know. Let’s see how this thing plays out,” said the UFC president.

Both fighters are healthy and didn’t sustain any injuries on Saturday. Time will tell who ultimately is granted a shot at the belt, but Souza believes his time is now.

“I’m ready for the title. It’s my fifth fight in the UFC. I can finish anybody in my division. It’s my time.”

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