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‘Jacare’ Souza explains why he changed managers ahead of UFC Sao Paulo

Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza is now manager by veteran coach and manager Andre Pederneiras.
Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

SAO PAULO — Ronaldo Souza no longer works with Gilberto Faria, who’d been his manager for more than a decade.

Back in action for the main event of UFC Sao Paulo on Saturday night, “Jacare” is now managed by Andre Pederneiras, founder of the Nova Uniao team in Brazil. Pederneiras has managed former UFC and Bellator champions Jose Aldo, Renan Barao and Eduardo Dantas.

“Gilberto and I have been friends for many years, and he has done great things for me, but I wanted to change,” Souza told MMA Fighting. “I felt like I had to change, and that’s what I did. It’s simple.

“I’ve always admired ‘Dede’ (Pederneiras), did some research and saw that he was managing fighters from other teams as well, and that’s when we started working together.”

Souza is the first non-Nova Uniao fighter to be manager by Pederneiras, something that could become a trend in the future. The renowned coach also plans to open a team in the United States.

“‘Jacare’ decided to replace his manager and called me asking about the possibility of me working as his manager, and I accepted right away,” Pederneiras told MMA Fighting. “I went to Orlando to talk to him in person and (head coach Josuel) Distak was there, so we spoke for one week and started working together.”

“Jacare” did his entire camp for UFC Sao Paulo in Florida, thousands of miles away from Pederneiras in Rio de Janeiro, but the veteran coach will be in his corner at UFC Sao Paulo.

“‘Dede’ knows everything about MMA, so I asked him if he could give me some tips in the fights, things I could do, how I should train, but it was a short visit,” Souza said of the days Pederneiras spent in Florida. “He came here so we could discuss the details of our agreement and then went back (to Brazil). He’s very experienced, has made many champions, has managed champions, and that has helped me a lot.”

A former middleweight champion over at Strikeforce, Souza came close to earning a shot at the belt in the UFC, but came short on clinching the opportunity several times. Now fighting in the relatively shallower light heavyweight division, “Jacare” could earn a chance to challenge for Jon Jones’ throne with one or two big wins.

He won’t focus on it, though.

“I’m thinking about this win, man. I don’t think about anything beyond that,” Souza said. “I think that Dominick Reyes will be a good challenger for Jon Jones. He’s a complete fighter who’s coming off good wins, so that’s it.”

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