Souza was supposed to face the former middleweight champ at a November 26th card in Australia, until Rockhold withdrew. The fight would have marked the second time the two had fought, as back in 2011 with Strikeforce, Souza lost to Rockhold via unanimous decision.
Well, more recently, the UFC announced that Souza will take on Tim Boetsch at UFC 208, February 11th. Souza spoke with MMA Fighting.com following the bout’s announcement, and the vaunted grappler relayed that the fight materialized, since no top contenders at 185 are available. While discussing Rockhold, however, Souza said this:
“Rockhold is afraid,” Souza said. “He said he’s hurt, but I see him training all the time on social media, and then he said he wanted to face Jon Jones in a grappling match in January. That makes no sense. He’s not hurt. If he’s injured, he can’t grapple Jon Jones. That’s impossible.
“It bothers me because I wanted to fight in November. Injuries are part of the sport, it happens, but I never thought Rockhold would fake an injury. At first I thought he was hurt, but now I see he just chickened out. It’s clear he’s not injured.”
It will be interesting to see what Rockhold’s take on Souza’s comments are, if he responds. Back when Rockhold challenged Jones to a grappling match, he said his doctor only told him he couldn’t kick. More recently, the AKA fighter relayed on Twitter that “Nothing I want more than to fight right now. But ACL tears don’t heal in a matter of weeks. Soon as I can kick, I will sign a fight.”