Though he’s no longer with the UFC, Ronaldo Souza plans to soldier onward in his mixed martial arts career.
Shortly after returning home to Orlando, Fla., from the hospital, “Jacare” spoke to Sherdog.com about the UFC 262 fight against Andre Muniz that saw the Brazilian grappler suffer a broken humerus due to an armbar. Souza was released from the UFC after the bout, which was his fourth consecutive defeat.
"I never considered tapping because I really thought the armbar was not on my joint. When it broke, I thought to myself, ‘Maybe I´m unlearning jiu-jitsu.’ But then I talked to [Andre] Pederneiras and [10-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion] Bruno Malfacine, and both said it looked like it was not tight. Then I realized I just had an unlucky moment.”
Souza nonetheless praised Muniz for his performance.
"Muniz came to me asking for forgiveness, and I told him to not be upset because it was a natural process in our sport. It's such a pleasure to face such a respectful opponent. I really wish the best to him,” Souza said.
Competing in jiu-jitsu since 1999 and MMA since 2003, the 41-year-old “Jacare” guaranteed that he is not planning to retire yet.
"I never made any important decision in my life overnight,” he said. “I´m still strong and healthy. I’m not retired yet.”
Considered by Brazilian fans as one of the most wronged fighters in UFC history because he never received a title shot, “Jacare” himself has no hard feelings toward the Las Vegas-based promotion.
"I have nothing to complain about regarding the UFC,” he said. “Of course, I thought I deserved the title shot when I was on a five-bout winning streak, but they always paid me like a champion.”
When asked to pick a future UFC champion in his division, Souza pointed to a training partner that is not on the roster yet, two-division Glory Kickboxing champion Alexsandro Pereira.
"Mark this name. This guy is a phenomenon, we trained together a couple of times,” Souza said. “He is evolving fast on the ground and already has nice takedown defense. He is already one of the best strikers in the world. I have no doubt that soon he will rule UFC middleweight division.”
Souza dismissed talk about a potential move to Bellator, Professional Fighters League or any other MMA organization. Instead, he chose to focus on the opening of his jiu-jitsu academy that is scheduled to open in September.
“It's going to be a 4,000 square foot jiu-jitsu dojo in Orlando. I have no doubt it's going to be among the most beautiful BJJ academies in the world,” he said. “If MMA fighters want to train here, they will have to put the gi on. We are going to have a focus on special needs children with autism, ADHD, down syndrome. We will have a psychologist supporting us. We want to use BJJ to include [everyone].”