IRVINE, Calif. -- Yoel Romero might be out, but Ronaldo Souza still wants to fight at UFC on FOX 15 on April 18 in Newark. And 'Jacare' has an opponent in mind, too.
Souza's manager Gilberto Faria told MMAFighting.com on Friday night during Bellator 136 at Bren Events Center that "Jacare" would be interested in fighting Michael Bisping on the card. There is one caveat: Bisping is booked to face C.B. Dollaway one week later at UFC 186 in Montreal.
"He's the kind of guy that has balls and wouldn't say no to a fight," Faria said of Bisping. "Looking at all the other guys out there right now that would be a great fight for 'Jacare' and someone that would be ready by April 18. That person that crossed my mind to get people excited -- to get 'Jacare' excited -- is Michael Bisping. If that happens, it'll be a great show. We'll see."
Romero pulled out of the Souza fight Friday. Faria would prefer 'Jacare' not wait around for another two or three months for a fight. The Brazilian middleweight star is coming off an illness that put him out of the fight with Romero at UFC 184 in February. Souza is ready to fight now, but it would have to be against someone ranked. Bisping is No. 9 among UFC middleweight contenders, while 'Jacare' is No. 1.
"'Jacare' is ready to fight the best," Faria said. "'Jacare' is ready to fight the champ right now. He wants to fight someone at the top or else it makes no sense."
Team Bisping, though, doesn't seem too interested since the fight with Dollaway is already only two weeks away.
"We trained for C.B. Dollaway and that's only a couple weeks out," Bisping's manager Audie Attar told MMAFighting.com. "To switch it out for 'Jacare' doesn't make sense, but we'd love to fight him after this fight."
Attar said the idea of fighting 'Jacare' appeals to Bisping and it is something they briefly thought about. The timing just is not right for "The Count."
"Every body wants a piece of Bisping," Attar said. "Bisping is so marketable. People just want that. They want that opportunity. It's their right to want that and likewise. Mike definitely would love to face him. He's definitely on the list."
The other options near the top of the middleweight division are limited. Vitor Belfort is getting the next shot at champion Chris Weidman at UFC 187 on May 23 in Las Vegas. Lyoto Machida and Luke Rockhold are facing off in the main event of UFC on FOX 15. Anderson Silva is likely to be suspended for testing positive for steroids and Tim Kennedy's career status is uncertain.
Thales Leites and Roan Carneiro might be available, but probably not big enough names to satisfy 'Jacare' at this point. Bisping is the name that keeps coming up for Faria.
"If Bisping is up to the task and I believe he might be because he's not a guy that says no to challenges, it would be great," Faria said. "It would be cool."