Late last week, news broke that Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza would be returning to the Octagon against Tim Boetsch at UFC 208. Given Jacare’s status as a staple of the middleweight top-5, and Boetsch’s position on the outermost edge of the top-15, this was a bit of a strange booking. According to Jacare, however, it was the best available option.
The Brazilian explained his reasons for taking the fight in an interview with MMAFighting.com.
“At least I have an opponent and a fight,” he said. “Fighters that stayed inactive for a long time don’t do well in the end, so I wanted to stay active. My intention was to fight a top contender in the division, but everyone is hurt.”
“Rockhold is afraid,” the Brazilian elaborated, referencing Rockhold’s withdrawal from their planned November showdown. “He said he’s hurt, but I see him training all the time on social media, and then he said he wanted to face Jon Jones in a grappling match in January. That makes no sense. He’s not hurt. If he’s injured, he can’t grapple Jon Jones. That’s impossible.”
“It bothers me because I wanted to fight in November. Injuries are part of the sport, it happens, but I never thought Rockhold would fake an injury. At first I thought he was hurt, but now I see he just chickened out. It’s clear he’s not injured.”
While Jacare is steadfast in his belief that Rockhold’s injury was fraudulent, he is happy that Boetsch was willing to step up and fight. Despite his new opponent’s station at the back-end of the middleweight rankings, Jacare is not taking him lightly.
“This guy is trouble,” he said. “Tim Boetsch is trouble. He has a heavy hand and can complicate anyone, but I will stay focused to put on a great fight and win. His power is incredible. He’s really dangerous. If you blink, you might wake up later wondering what happened.”
When we last saw Jacare in action, he reaffirmed his status as one of the middleweight division’s top dogs with a first-round bludgeoning of Vitor Belfort. Since joining the UFC in 2013, he has also defeated Yushin Okami, Francis Carmont, Gegard Mousasi, and Chris Camozzi (twice).
How do you think this newly announced Jacare vs. Boetsch bout goes? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 10/1/2017.