But it’s also no secret that the former Strikeforce middleweight champion’s contract comes to an end after his much-anticipated UFC on FOX 24 showdown on Saturday night. And in this era in which big-name fighters test the free agency market and score themselves big deals, it’s not a surprise the people want to know where “Jacare” stands in his current situation.
So at Thursday’s open workouts in Kansas City, Souza gave an update, saying that he’s not far off from getting a new UFC deal.
“It’s pretty close, we’re working the numbers,” Souza said. He then added through an interpreter, “We’re very, very close to signing a deal, very close to what they’re asking for.”
Should Souza, a winner of 10 out of his past 11 fights, remain in the UFC, there are plenty of viable opponents. But he’s also not a fan of champion Michael Bisping’s approach to the championship, so he’s not going to sit around and wait for his phone to ring.
“I’m ready for a challenge, and I cannot sit in my home and wait for Bisping, because Bisping is a disaster for the middleweight division,” said the Brazilian star, who gave most of his interview without an interpreter. “Right now we need fights, me, Romero, Luke [Rockhold], [Gegard] Mousasi, we need to stay in the Octagon, is the best. Because Bisping, he don’t want to fight. He don’t want to fight any tough opponent. He’s afraid.”
Souza also praised Whittaker, who is stepping up to his biggest career challenge while riding a six-fight win streak, as a means of throwing shade at the division’s other contenders.
“He’s a tough opponent,” Souza said of Whittaker. “Luke is afraid. [Yoel] Romero, he sat. He’s sitting and waiting for his title shot. But after my fight with Robert Whittaker, [Romero] says he wants to fight Anderson [Silva].”
What’s clear is that regardless of where Souza ends up signing after the Whittaker fight, Souza wants to stay active.
“Do not sit and wait for a title shot because I need to fight,” Souza said. “I am a professional and I need to stay ready for all opponents, and I came to work. I do not sit and wait for a special fight.”