In late 2016, former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold was forced out of a highly anticipated rematch with Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza with an injury. This fight would have been Rockhold’s first back since he surrendered the UFC middleweight title to Michael Bisping in June, succumbing to a shocking, first-round knockout.
Early last week, Jacare made headlines by suggesting that Rockhold wasn’t actually injured, and that he pulled out of their planned rematch because he was scared.
“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,” Jacare told MMAFighting.com. “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.”
Unsurprisingly, these comments did not go over especially well with Rockhold. The former champ fired back at his Brazilian rival in a recent interview with Starsport.
“It’s amazing Jacare is making all the f*cking talk,” he said. “He should speak some more English and run his mouth a little bit, I love it.”
Rockhold went on to remind Jacare that he lost their first fight, and also admit that he is excited to see the Brazilian return to action against Tim Boetsch,
“Jacare should have some understanding of that after the five-round f**king ass whooping I gave him. I look forward to seeing Jacare come back and fight Tim Boetsch.”
Finally, Rockhold explained that he really was broken up that he had to pull out of his planned rematch with Jacare, but that he didn’t really have much of a choice.
“There’s nothing more I wanted than to get back and get this fight,” he said. “It was a very tough decision to pull back on.”
“But, like I said, I couldn’t kick. It’s not the time to go out there and fight injured. I’ve done that before and no one rewards you for that in the end if something goes wrong.”
Who do you think would have won Luke Rockhold and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza’s briefly scheduled rematch? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This story first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/18/2017.