Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza passed up his shot for the UFC middleweight title fight with Luke Rockhold after Chris Weidman pulled out of the originally scheduled fight with Rockhold at UFC 199 due to injury.
Souza had an MRI done just a day before he heard that Weidman was out of the fight with Rockhold and the UFC needed an opponent.
“Honestly, I didn’t know I’d get hurt so bad,” Souza told MMA Fighting. “I felt the pain before UFC 198, but was well trained and strong, so I didn’t train for a week. I felt the knee again during the fight. I was devastated because I did the MRI on May 16 and on May 17 I got the news that Weidman was injured. If I knew about it, I wouldn’t even do the MRI [laughs]. I had to open the black box to see what was going on with my knee.
“It was a clean surgery, and I’m walking normally now. I had to do this surgery. I had a meniscus injury, and it would definitely get worse if I didn’t do this now. I was physically well in the fight, could move normally. Everybody has injuries going into a fight, it’s impossible to be 100 percent, but thank God I had the best strategy and won.”
“Jacare” said his doctor laid it all out clearly so he could understand the gravity of his injury and how much worse his injured knee could potentially get fighting Rockhold.
“I was going to say yes (and fight at UFC 199), but the MRI was done. I couldn’t just ignore the results,” he said. “Healthy first. I’m a Christian man, so I prayed. Whatever was in the MRI results would determine my future, if I would take the fight or not. The doctor told me ‘you fought Belfort for five minutes and can’t walk now. Imagine yourself fighting Rockhold for 25 minutes. You’ll lose your leg’. I decided not to fight because of my health.”
While “Jacare” says he should be the next to fight the winner of Rockhold vs. Bisping, anything can happen in the UFC.
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