It is the end of a Ultimate Fighting Championship era.
On Wednesday night, Sherdog learned that Ronaldo Souza (26-10, 1 NC) had been removed from the promotion’s fan rankings pool. This, like the changing of UFC fighter roster pages, does not automatically signify that an athlete’s status with the organization has been modified. On Thursday, Sherdog has confirmed from sources close to the situation that Souza has indeed been released from the UFC.
Souza’s last four performances have not gone well, with the worst one week ago at UFC 262, when “Jacare” suffered his first-ever submission loss in MMA competition to Andre Muniz. In a scramble, Muniz snapped Souza’s humerus with an armbar, inflicting an injury that required surgery for the Brazilian legend and a six-month recovery. Previous bouts against Kevin Holland, Jan Blachowicz and Jack Hermansson have also not gone in his favor – the Holland loss stood out as a potential “Knockout of the Year” contender in 2020.
This will be the first time since 2009 that “Jacare” has not been signed to an organization under the Zuffa banner, although his Strikeforce: Evolution debut in 2009 came before Zuffa had purchased the league. The Brazilian competed 16 times for the UFC from 2013 to 2021, amassing a record of 9-7 with stoppages of Vitor Belfort, Chris Weidman, Gegard Mousasi and Derek Brunson serving as highlights over the years.
On the Strikeforce roster, Souza captured the middleweight crown by defeating Tim Kennedy in 2010. He defended the throne some five months later against Robbie Lawler, who was competing at 185 pounds at the time. A subsequent defense against Luke Rockhold saw the legend fall short in a five-round battle, and this was the last time he ever vied for a major championship. The 41-year-old grappling wizard has not stated if he plans to retire, as he is focused on recovery at the moment.