#3 ranked middleweight contender Ronaldo Souza fights #14 Tim Boetsch at UFC 208 on February 11. The Barbarian is coming off twin KO wins, over Josh Samman and Rafael Natal. Jacare is coming off a win over Vitor Belfort at UFC 198 last May. Prior to that, he lost a split decision to Yoel Romero at UFC 194 in December of 2015. Souza was scheduled to fight Rockhold in November, but the former champ withdrew due to injury.
Like Demian Maia, a title shot appears forever just out of reach.
“My idea was to fight – that was my goal,” said Souza to Fernanda Prates for MMAjunkie. “I accepted everyone that was offered to me, and I accepted Boetsch. So it was kind of, I had to accept. There’s only that option. It’s him or him.”
“My opponent is trouble. He has a very hard hand – it can make it difficult for any opponent. His hook makes it tough. He’s very strong and his wrestling is very good, as well. So to sum it all up, he’s trouble.”
“My goal is to beat [Boetsch]. And the belt is something that will happen. In my understanding, I have to beat everyone – everyone the UFC puts in front of me until they give me the opportunity. That’s my goal, and that’s my focus.”
Bisping’s next fight is likely vs. Yoel Romero.
“I believe it will happen,” said Souza. “The dirty one, because Romero is a dirty fighter, against the chicken, the scared one – Bisping. So it will be kind of a weird fight. The dirty against the chicken. I believe this will be the fight.”
Jacare hopes Romero wins it.
“I like rematches,” Souza said. “I never lost a rematch. A rematch with Romero would be nice.”
Souza also explained that he had weighed in at UFC 205, in case Romero or Chris Weidman got hurt.
“It was crazy,” said Souza. “Being called just a few days before an event like this to fill in for one of the tough guys who could end up not fighting? All I knew is I had to be there, on weight, in case they needed me to come in. Nobody does that. I did it because I’m crazy, and I proved that if the UFC needs me, at any time, I’ll be ready to go to work.”
Romero ended up beating Weidman via spectacular flying knee. And once again, the title shot was just out of reach.