The news that the next crack at Michael Bisping’s middleweight title will go to returning welterweight legend Georges St-Pierre – who has never fought at middleweight before – was most troubling for two men in particular: Yoel Romero and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.
With Octagon records of 8-0 and 7-1 respectively, Romero and Jacare are far and away the top contenders in the UFC middleweight division, and are both very much deserving of the opportunity to fight for gold. Yet with the news of this Bisping vs. St-Pierre bout, both of their title shots were pushed back on the schedule.
Romero and Jacare are dealing with this unfortunate twist of fate in different ways. Romero now plans to wait for a fight with the Bisping vs. St-Pierre winner. Jacare, meanwhile, is opting to stay busy, gambling with his hard-earned title shot each time he steps in the cage.
First, he took on the dangerous Tim Boetsch, winning by first-round submission. Now, he’s scheduled for a fight with red-hot Australian contender Robert Whittaker, which will go down this April. Should he win this fight, his deserving a title shot will be even harder to deny. Yet with Romero waiting in the wings, he may be forced to wait even longer.
In a recent media scrum in his native Brazil, Jacare explained that, while he’s happy to stay busy for the moment, he may ultimately opt to retire if he gets tired of waiting for a shot – something he’s more than willing to do.
” I’m motivated in fighting,” Souza said (via MMAFighting.com). “That doesn’t demotivate me at all. I’m motivated by the challenge that my opponent brings. The belt is the consequence. I’m a believer in God, everybody knows that. When I’m choosing my fight, I put a knee on the ground and ask for God to choose a fight for me, and it’s happening.”
“I’m happy to be fighting,” he continued. “But I have no problem stopping fighting. I stopped competing in jiu-jitsu in 2005 when I was at the top of my career, and if I think it’s too much for me, that I’m full of it, I can stop fighting. That’s it. I can open my own gym, make as much money as I make fighting, and be happy. I have this dream of having my own gym, so I have no problem stopping fighting.”
Do you think Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza should have received the next shot at the middleweight title? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/20/2017.