(Courtesy of UFC)
It might sound odd for a fighter to declare that there is only a title fight in his future when he’s just gotten back on track after having lost his previous fight, but that’s exactly where Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza finds himself following Saturday night’s UFC on FOX 27 headlining victory.
Jacare entered his rematch with Derek Brunson in Charlotte, N.C., having lost to current UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in his last fight. The only other fighters that Jacare has lost to in the past nine or so years are Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero, who are slated to fight for the interim UFC middleweight title at UFC 221 on Feb. 11 in Perth, Australia. Whittaker is currently indefinitely sidelined because of severe complications from a reportedly mistreated staph infection.
Having fought the best of the rest and beaten them all – including his first-round knockout in Saturday’s rematch with Brunson – Jacare is in a rare situation where he has earned a spot on the championship doorstep only one-fight removed from a loss to the champ, and he knows it.
“There is not any other way than going to the belt,” he said backstage at UFC on FOX 27 after the fight.
Now, it’s just a matter of time, waiting to find out how the division starts to take shape following UFC 221 and, hopefully, and update on Whittaker’s prospects for an eventual return to competition.