Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza was already an extremely frightening dude by the time he joined Strikeforce in 2009, but since then, the middleweight has continued to round out a game that includes world class, grappling skills.
Not only has Souza put together a 10-1 record over the last five years, which is replete with submission wins, but more recently, he’s showcased some dangerous striking abilities. Case in point, last September, “Jacare” needed less than one round to put away Yushin Okami. Whether you’re a fan of “Thunder’s” approach to fighting or not, not many people have been able to stop the Japanese middleweight.
So, in other words, Souza has been demonstrating that he’s no longer just a threat on the ground. As may have been more so the case, six years ago or so, when he battled Gegard Mousasi the first time (and was KO’d by a jaw dropping up-kick).
In a recent interview with UFC.com, here is some of what Souza had to say about his development as a fighter and his improving striking skills.
“MMA is quite new for me, and it’s so challenging because you need to oversee thousands of details and many different types of fighting,” Souza said. “Different kicks, different punches, wrestling defenses. And that motivates me a lot. I learn every day and that makes it fresh for me.
There’s no doubt that I’m always looking to fight on the ground,” Souza added. “Nobody can deny that, but I keep trying to learn more and improve my striking game. Every day at the gym I’m training with some boxing champions and day-by-day they’re beating me a lot, but every time I get out of the gym, I may think ‘oh, I got so beat up,’ but this way I’m learning, and that’s how I’m improving my striking game. I can say I’m not so talented on my feet, but I’m working hard and that’s how the knockouts are coming.”
It will be interested to see what kind of approach Souza takes against Mousasi, who is a gifted striker to say the least. “The Dreamcatcher” is also no slouch on the ground, so if the fight does hit the mat, it could make for some memorable action.
It’s a huge bout for both men, not only because it’s a headliner, but the winner will be right in the thick of the title shot mix. Really, Souza’s there already, since he’s ranked #3, but a victory over a fellow contender like Mousasi will certainly improve his standing.
If Mousasi wins, then the Dutch fighter will likely jump straight into the top five. Currently he’s ranked #7.
UFC FN 50 will be hosted by the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut. In the co-main event, Alistair Overeem will throw down with Ben Rothwell.
Here’s hoping the promising card delivers.