Not only is Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza one of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s greatest competitors to transition into MMA, but he’s also been one of the more successful, evidenced by the fact he’ll fight fellow middleweight contender Yushin Okami in the UFC Fight Night 28 co-main-event tonight.
Since losing his MMA debut way back in 2003, the only men to defeat the former Strikeforce champ are Luke Rockhold and Gegard Mousasi, who are two of the sport’s top competitors. So why did Souza decide to focus on MMA rather than BJJ and grappling, where he’s won numerous World and ADCC championships? Well, in a pre-fight interview with MMA Fighting. com, “Jacare” revealed he made his decision after Roger Gracie broke his arm at the 2004 World Championships (the Brazilian went on to win the bout via points). Here’s some of what Souza had to say about what prompted the move:
“They take too much money from us and simply don’t give anything back,” Souza claimed. “I left jiu-jitsu for MMA because those f—— never came to me asking if I needed anything.”
“I was starving in Rio with a broken arm,” Souza furthered “My physical therapist was on the same street of IBJJF in Rio. I met them all the time and they never asked if I needed a glass of water.”
The legendary jiu-jitsu match and aftermath aside, it will be fascinating to see how “Jacare” and Okami approach tonight’s bout. Okami’s bread-and-butter over the years has been his dominating clinch and top game, which has helped him produce a terrific Octagon record of 14-3. Souza, however, is also a Judo Black Belt (just like Okami), so it will be interesting to whether “Thunder” goes for the takedown and how. As Souza noted in the aforementioned interview, if the opposition attempts to clinch with him, “someone is going to get hurt and it won’t be me.”
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