Ronaldo Souza’s venture at 205 pounds did not start as expected, but he’s not ruling out more light heavyweight bouts despite his return to middleweight for a UFC 246 fight with Uriah Hall on April 18.
“Jacare” moved up a weight class following a decision defeat to Jack Hermansson in April, but lost a lackluster split-decision loss to Jan Blachowicz seven months later.
Souza is looking to snap the first losing skid of his MMA career, and his longtime head coach Josuel Distak revealed to MMA Fighting that the former Strikeforce champion is not attached to one weight class only.
“‘Jacare’ will continue fighting in both divisions,” Distak said. “He will do special fights at 205, and go after the belt at 185. We still dream about fighting for the Ultimate Fighting belt. ‘Jacare’ still has that dream, and it’s hard to stop someone that has a dream. That’s our goal, to fight in both divisions. Wherever the exciting fights are, that’s where we’re going.”
Souza was down in two of the three judges’ scorecards against Blachowicz, and for nine of 16 members of the MMA media (via MMA Decisions). Distak disagrees with the majority of them.
“He fought well against a guy that was knocking everyone out,” Distak said of Souza. “(Blachowicz) did not want to fight ‘Jacare’. It was a split decision, and I thought we won that fight. It was a close, technical fight, but ‘Jacare’ was more aggressive. There’s no doubt in my mind that Ronaldo won that fight.”
Souza’s next step in the Octagon will be in Brooklyn, N.Y., against Hall. His opponent enters UFC 249 coming off a split-decision win over another jiu-jitsu wizard in Antonio Carlos Junior, but Distak sees him as a favorable match-up.
“This is a great fight for ‘Jacare,’” Distak said. “He’s very tough, but ‘Jacare’ never had an easy fight in the UFC. ‘Jacare’ is always fighting the toughest ones. It’s an important fight. Let’s kick things off in 2020 on the right foot.”