This weekend, in the main event of UFC Fort Lauderdale, long-time UFC middleweight contender Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza will take part in a high risk, low-reward fight with rising contender Jack Hermansson. If he wins, well, he simply reminds the world that he already deserves a title shot. If he loses, meanwhile, his UFC title dreams will be dashed for perhaps a final time.
“It was hard negotiating for Jack,” the Brazilian contender told MMA Junkie recently in his native Portuguese. “That was hard. That was tough. I didn’t want to accept the fight at all. It’s a risk that I’m taking. I’m putting my career at risk; that’s the truth. It made me very upset, this fight. But we talked, and this and that. Then (UFC matchmaker) Mick Maynard came in, Hunter (Campbell), (UFC president) Dana White, all those people, and I said, ‘Either you promise me the belt and put that to paper and send it to me, or there’s no deal.’”
While Jacare felt like he was somewhat cornered into taking this fight, he says the UFC ultimately came through with a deal that worked for him.
“It was tough because everyone put a lot of pressure on me,” Souza said. “That’s what upset me a lot. … Everyone was, ‘Take the fight, take the fight.’ And the UFC people calling. And I said, ‘I don’t want this fight. I don’t want it. I won’t take this fight.’ And then Dana White, ‘Take this fight, it will be good because of this and that.’ And in my head, ‘Don’t take it, don’t take it, don’t take it.’ At the end of the day, we reached an agreement that is good for me.”
“Don’t forget about this, Dana White, UFC, or Mick Maynard, Hunter” he added in English. “You promised me a title shot. Don’t forget about this.”
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 4/26/2019.