Jacare Souza: The Contender No One is Talking About
The MMA community is responsible for hyping up a fighter and turning them into a star – whether their record dictates that hype or not. Perhaps the best example of this is Kimbo Slice, who at one time drew money for the UFC thanks to his back yard brawls captured on You Tube and a fairly unsuccessful run on the Ultimate Fighter. Ultimately, Slice’s legacy in the sport is one of flash, with very little substance. Every now and than, there is a fighter who provides both; one of those fighters, is middleweight contender, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.
Souza is on a 5 fight win streak, and an impressive performance on Saturday against Francis Carmont could lead to a future title shot against the winner of Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort. Souza, is the former Strikeforce middleweight champion, and has proven in his last 5 fights to be absolutely dominating. Moreover, in his last four fights, Souza’s opponents have not even been able to make it out of the first round. These dominant victories over the likes of Chris Camozzi, Ed Herman and most recently, sending Yushin Okami out of the UFC have stunned the middleweight division.
Why then, does it seem that no one seems to be talking about him?
I believe that after Saturday, Souza will vault himself into the MMA spotlight. Jacare is currently ranked as the number three middleweight in the world by the UFC, and a win on Saturday and a potential injury to number one contender Belfort could immediately land him in the title mix. No matter what happens in the eventual battle between Weidman and Belfort, the biggest threat to the title, will be the former Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion. Furthermore, over the course of his UFC career, Souza has shown a definitive improvement in his stand up. In fact, he has come so far, that he might even more dangerous on his hands then he is on the ground.
Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card will help decide a lot of things in the wide open middleweight ranks. Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida is being groomed as the next contender – and a win over Gegard Mousasi would go a long way in making him that top contender. However, to simply state that if Machida wins, he automatically becomes the number one contender is foolish. Sure, Machida has the name value, but after Saturday I would not be surprised to see Jacare steal his contender thunder.