Josuel Distak has an opponent in mind for pupil Ronaldo Souza. | Photo: Gleidson Venga/Sherdog.com
After running up a seven-fight winning streak against the likes of Gegard Mousasi and Yushin Okami, Brazilian middleweight “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza was eyeing a shot at the winner of the title bout between UFC champ Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort.
That idea was thrown off course, however, when a hand injury postponed Weidman’s title defense to February 2015. Souza is also on the mend from an injury: only a few months after undergoing surgery on his right elbow for cubital tunnel syndrome, the jiu-jitsu ace learned he will require a similar procedure on his left elbow. According to Souza’s manager, Gilberto Faria, the fighter will be recovered and ready to fight around January.
On Monday, Sherdog.com spoke with Souza coach Josuel Distak, who discussed the plans for Jacare’s return.
“I believe Jacare already proved that he deserves a shot at the middleweight title,” said Distak, “but, once he’s recovered from this second elbow surgery in January, it’s the same time as Chris and Belfort, so what can we do? I like the idea of putting Jacare in a special light heavyweight fight. I truly believe that, with the exception of Rafael ‘Feijao’ and Rogerio ‘Minotouro,’ Jacare can fight anyone in that division as preparation to face the winner of Vitor and Chris. I don’t think it’s fair that Jacare should cut weight to fight in the division where he’s ranked No. 2.”
Asked to point out an opponent for Jacare’s hypothetical 205-pound bout, Distak immediately pointed to Souza’s fellow Strikeforce veteran Dan Henderson.
“Jacare already fought in open-weight matches during his jiu-jitsu career. I would love to see him facing Henderson in February, on the same card that Belfort will face Weidman. Henderson is a legend, and the fans would love to see that matchup. But Ronaldo could face anyone in that division except Rogerio and Feijao. I don’t see any problem with making that test. The world needs to know the potential of Ronaldo Jacare.”