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‘Jacare' Souza glad Tim Boetsch accepted UFC 208 fight after Luke Rockhold ‘chickened out'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Many fans didn't approve of the decision to book top contender Ronaldo Souza against Tim Boetsch at UFC 208, but “Jacare" doesn’t see it that way. He is celebrating the fact that he’s finally fighting.

Scheduled to face “The Barbarian” on Feb. 11 in Brooklyn, the former Strikeforce middleweight champion Souza — who had a rematch with Luke Rockhold cancelled on Nov. 26 after Rockhold suffered an injury — actually thanks Boetsch for stepping in.

"At least I have an opponent and a fight,” Souza told MMA Fighting. "Fighters that stayed inactive for a long time don't do well in the end, so I wanted to stay active. My intention was to fight a top contender in the division, but everyone is hurt."

As for Rockhold, who pulled out of the Melbourne fight citing a knee injury, “Jacare" isn’t convinced that the former UFC and Strikeforce champion is actually hurt.

"Rockhold is afraid,” the Brazilian 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.”

“Jacare" says that Robert Whittaker wasn’t an option for his next fight because he, too, is injured. With Chris Weidman coming off a devastating knockout loss to Yoel Romero at UFC 205, Souza says Boetsch was the best option available, and he liked “the idea of fighting him."

"This guy is trouble. Tim Boetsch is trouble,” Souza said. "He has a heavy hand and can complicate anyone, but I will stay focused to put on a great fight and win. His power is incredible. He’s really dangerous. If you blink, you might wake up later wondering what happened."

The X-Gym product sees himself "winning in many different ways,” and plans on finishing Boetsch at UFC 208. Asked if another stoppage victory in his UFC record would finally guarantee him a shot at the middleweight championship, Souza ripped current champion Michael Bisping.

"I don’t even want to hear about Bisping anymore, because he’s a p*ssy,” ""Jacare" said. "He wants to fight anyone but the top contenders in the middleweight division. I won’t run after a p*ssy like Bisping. Everybody knows he became champion by accident. That was an accident. And now he doesn't wanna fight a top contender. He wants to hatch the belt."

And how about Bisping’s recent idea of facing UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in a catchweight bout?

"That’s typical of him,” Souza said. "I won’t waste any energy with this nonsense."

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