‘Jacare’ Souza on Earning UFC Middleweight Title Shot: ‘I’ve Done My Part’

By Mike Sloan Feb 8, 2017


As the old saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.”

Ronaldo Souza would certainly into the “good” category when it comes to MMA fighters, and he’s been waiting a long time to land a crack at the UFC’s middleweight title, but the Brazilian thinks his time is coming.

Souza has lost only once in the past five years, dropping a split decision to Yoel Romero at UFC 194, the same Romero who is slated to eventually fight Michael Bisping for the Brit’s 185-pound crown. “Jacare” had feasted on Bristol Marunde, Derek Brunson, Yushin Okami, Chris Camozzi (twice) and Gegard Mousasi before losing a razor-thin decision to Romero. From there, he obliterated future Hall of Famer Vitor Belfort within a round and instead of landing a chance at UFC gold, Souza will be fighting Tim Boetsch at UFC 208 on Saturday (online betting).

“What I can tell you is that I’ve done my part and I’ve beaten some tough, top guys like Gegard Mousasi and Vitor Belfort,” Souza told Sherdog.com in a recent interview. “I keep doing what I need to do to make sure I get where I want. Who gets a title shot is up to the UFC and all I can keep on doing is doing my job the right way.

“If you look back,” he added, “every fighter who has come from another [promotion] who does well has gotten a title shot. I have come from another show and have gotten some great wins. Luke Rockhold did, all these other guys did. I was champion in Strikeforce, and I think I have done well in the UFC. My title shot will come.”

Of course, “Jacare” can ill-afford a loss to Boetsch. If he slips up against the American in any way and comes up short in what many believe is more of a stay-busy fight than anything else, his chances of fighting for the title will be all but crippled. Though Boetsch is a dangerous man who has won his last two, “The Barbarian” is not ranked among the middleweight division’s Top 10. Still, the multiple-time jiu jitsu world champion isn’t overlooking his upcoming foe.

“I’ll have to be aggressive and push forward because Tim Boetsch is a very tough fighter who has a great, strong chin,” he said. “He’s hard to knock out so I’ll have to be attacking right away, looking for the finish. I want to keep it intense because I know how dangerous Tim is. But that is not going to change my focus, which is to force the fight and always look for the finish.”

Souza believes he knows exactly how to attack Boetsch and has laid out a rather simple gameplan for when he steps into the Octagon in Brooklyn on Saturday.

“His power and his right hand make him a very scary guy,” he stated. “His right hand can finish a fight at any moment so I can’t blink or make a mistake. I can’t just go in there in thinking I can trade with him and ignore his power because if I do, he can end a fight with one punch. I’ll make sure that won’t happen.”

Provided Souza comes out victorious against Boetsch, he should be next in line to face the winner of the proposed battle between Bisping and Romero. But like a true veteran of the sport, “Jacare” isn’t taking anything for granted.

“My focus right now is taking care of Boetsch,” he said. “Once I get past him, then I can think about when I will get my chance at the UFC title.”

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