Coach: ‘Jacare’ Souza Has a ‘Right’ to Eventual Middleweight Title Shot

By Marcelo Alonso May 19, 2016

Long before he cornered Ronaldo Souza against Vitor Belfort at UFC 198, Josuel Distak was Belfort’s coach in his title-winning bout vs. Randy Couture at UFC 46.

While Distak was proud of “Jacare’s” first-round stoppage of Belfort this past Saturday, the trainer also wanted to show respect for “The Phenom.”

“Belfort is a legend of the sport,” Distak said. “Not only for me, but ‘Jacare’ also respects him a lot. As soon as the fight was over me and Jacare went to his locker room to talk to him. It was Samurai behavior.”

Distak did not deny that his previous experience with Belfort might have helped Souza’s game plan.

“Jacare did everything as we planned. He started to move his head, Vitor moved to the left and got lost. We tied up all possibilities,” he said.

With that win in the books, Distak doesn’t see any other logical opponent for Souza other than reigning middleweight champion Luke Rockhold. Souza was offered the fight against Rockhold at UFC 199 when Weidman withdrew due to injury, but the Brazilian had to decline because he needs surgery for a torn meniscus suffered in training. Now Michael Bisping will face Rockhold on short notice in the UFC 199 headliner. Still, Distak says Souza’s sights remain set on middleweight gold.

“Jacare always says he wants the belt, no matter [who wins at UFC 199]. In my case I want Rockhold. I never accepted the result of the first fight in Strikeforce,” Distak said. “Belfort destroyed Rockhold; Jacare destroyed Vitor, who is one of the best of MMA history, the most dangerous in that division. What else will be necessary for him to get the title shot? We deserve that. It is not only Jacare’s right; it’s Brazil’s right.”


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