On Monday, Souza took to Twitter to discuss the latest particulars of his fight negotiations, calling out fellow middleweight contender Derek Brunson, with whom the Brazilian grappling legend says he’s accepted a fight for UFC Fight Night 125, scheduled for Feb. 3 in Belem, Brazil.
“UFC offered me Derek Brunson to fight on February 3rd at UFC FN 125, Belem do Para, Brazil. I already agreed to fight on Belem do Para, Brazil, now is up to Derek Brunson, I hope he doesn’t come up with escuses [sic] about the location and date of event,” wrote Souza.
UFC offered me Derek Brunson to fight on February 3rd at UFC FN 125, Belem do Para, Brazil. I already agreed to fight on Belem do Para, Brazil, now is up to Derek Brunson, I hope he doesn't come up with escuses about the location and date of event. @ufc— Ronaldo Jacaré (@JacareMMA) November 20, 2017
Souza, 37, opened up 2017 with a kimura submission of Tim Boetsch in February, then returned in April, where he was knocked out by now-interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in the second round. Following the contest, Souza underwent surgery to repair a ruptured pectoral tendon in his chest.
Souza and Brunson met five years ago under the Strikeforce banner, with “Jacare” knocking the American out in just 41 seconds.
Souza, who was raised in the northeastern Brazilian city of Manaus, is angling to fight closer to his old stomping grounds, but Brunson seems to have similar designs for his next fight. On Monday evening, Brunson responded to Souza’s callout on Twitter, with the Wilmington, N.C. native saying that he had accepted on a fight at UFC on Fox 27 in Charlotte for Jan. 27.
“That’s weird,” Brunson wrote. “I accepted for Jan 27 in Charlotte, NC. I’ll be in touch after this weekend’s fight! See you in NC.”
That’s weird . I accepted for Jan 27 in Charlotte, NC. I’ll be in touch after this weekend’s fight! See you in NC. https://t.co/IrA88q4kEu— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) November 20, 2017
Brunson’s 2017 campaign began with a curious decision loss to middleweight legend Anderson Silva at UFC 208 in February, but the 33-year-old has rebounded in style with back-to-back first-round knockouts of four-time Olympic judoka Daniel Kelly in June, then former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida in the UFC Fight Night 119 headliner on Oct. 28 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.