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‘Jacare’ Souza: I have to do good job at UFC Sao Paulo – not talk like Luke Rockhold

Ronaldo Souza headlines UFC's upcoming show in Brazil against Jan Blachowicz.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

SAO PAULO — Moving up in weight after 16 years as a middleweight, Ronaldo Souza once again found joy in the process.

A former 185-pound Strikeforce champ, “Jacare” headlines UFC Sao Paulo against Jan Blachowicz on Saturday night. He’s already benefitted from not having to cut a large amount of weight for his five-round light heavyweight bout.

“I’ve always cut too much,” he said. “I’m a big guy for the middleweight division, so it has been great for me. I met (Daniel) Cormier once while I was eating, and he (told me) we’re now fighting at ‘happyweight.’ That’s exactly it – happyweight. I’m in great shape. It’s awesome.”

At UFC Sao Paulo, “Jacare” meets the man that stopped another ex-middleweight champ – Luke Rockhold – with a vicious left hook.

“That fight showed me that I have to go there and do a good job instead of talking too much,” Souza said of Rockhold’s fight with Blachowicz at UFC 239. “You can’t talk too much before things actually happen.

“(Rockhold) was talking about (Thiago) ‘Marreta’ (Santos) – ‘Marreta’ has done an excellent job at light heavyweight – and he was talking like (Santos) was nothing. He talked too much, and then that happened.”

Sparring with heavier opponents, Souza knows Blachowicz will have a size advantage. The Polish fighter is a bit taller and has longer reach, measuring 78 inches opposite his reach of 72. Not only that, but Blachowicz probably will be heavier on fight night.

“I always did great against heavier opponents when I competed in jiu-jitsu,” said Souza, a two-time absolute jiu-jitsu world champion as a black belt. “I have no problem fighting heavier guys, and it won’t be different this time. I’m in great shape, and I will surprise a lot of people. I’ll go there and do a good job.”

“Jacare” has been booked for five rounds on six occasions in his career, both in the UFC and in Strikeforce. He’s confident that not having to cut all the way down to 185 pounds will benefit his cardio.

“I’ll definitely use more strength,” Souza said. “He will be heavier than me, but I believe I’ll be able to surprise everyone in spectacular fashion.”

The Brazilian veteran, who in December turns 40, is the latest middleweight to jump up in weight after the likes of Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos, Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman made the move. Smith and Santos have found success. Souza aims to avoid the fate of Rockhold and Weidman, who also was knocked out in his 205-pound debut.

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