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‘Jacare’ Souza’s manager believes Michael Bisping will continue avoiding top contenders

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Ronaldo Souza was scheduled to fight Saturday night against Luke Rockhold, but everything changed when the former UFC middleweight champion pulled out of the UFC Fight Night 101 main event due to a knee injury.

"Jacare" cut weight to serve as a plan B at UFC 205 on Nov. 12, in case something happened to Chris Weidman or Yoel Romero, and will now focus on what’s next in his career. The UFC has yet to officially announce who’s next in line for the 185-pound championship, but everything indicates that Romero will get the next crack at Bisping in 2017.

"Everything is still open, we’re waiting for a position from the UFC," Souza’s manager Gilbert Faria told MMA Fighting. "’Jacare’ wants to fight Luke Rockhold, Bisping or even Yoel Romero. In other words, a fight that gives him a title shot, or a title fight. Dana (White) knows what ‘Jacare’ wants now, which is wait.

"‘Jacare’ will take two weeks off to recover from the training camp he did for the Luke fight that fell off, and the weight cut he did in New York for UFC 205, a weight cut that was different than we usually do for dates we have planned."

Rockhold is still recovering from the knee injury that forced him out of the rematch against the Brazilian, and recently mentioned he hopes to be back in action against "Jacare" in February or March.

"The ideal would be a fight in late January, or February," Faria said. "About Luke’s interview saying that he will be ready to fight in March, that’s very uncertain. The way Bisping is, he will find a way to fight Dan Henderson again, or someone from the welterweight division, or against someone retired, and continue avoiding a top contender. Don’t be surprised if ‘Jacare’ vs. Romero 2 happens first."

"Jacare" fought Romero the first time at UFC 194, losing a close decision. Back in 2011, the Brazilian also suffered a close decision loss to Rockhold, losing the Strikeforce middleweight championship. Those were the only defeats in Souza’s last 15 fights.

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