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Ronaldo Souza: “I feel fine being the champion of Strikeforce, but I want more than that.”

Newly crowned Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza is as unique an individual as you’ll find in the division. Not only possessing enough Jiu-Jitsu artistry to turn any ring’s blank canvas into a masterpiece, the Brazilian is also extremely humble, full of positive energy, and became a father for the first time a day before his title-winning performance in August against Tim Kennedy.

However, not comfortable resting on his heels and with a new mouth to feed, Souza made it clear in a conversation with Brazilian publication Tatame he’s continuing to work hard on his evolution as a fighter and still hopes to defend his middleweight belt before year’s end.

“(Striking) was the way I found to win (the Kennedy) fight. Of course I prefer the ground fight, but it’s a long way until you get there and sometimes it ain’t easy…I also thought he’d try to take me down too, so I’d use my strong point, which is my Jiu-Jitsu,” said Souza. “I train very little the stand-up game, but I’m learning a lot from my coaches: Distak on MMA and Boxing, Cesário on Boxing, and Tunico on Muay Thai. I know it’s very important to me to evolve while standing up, because I want to be a complete MMA fighter: I have to be great on the takedowns, takedown defenses, stand-up game, making or passing the guard.”

The 30-year old, multi-time World Jiu-Jitsu winner also clarified why he wasn’t satisfied with relaxing for the remainder of 2010 as opposed to staying active in the ring. “I feel fine being the champion of Strikeforce, but I want more than that. My victory is gone, now I want to put my belt in line. I want to fight one more time this year,” he explained.

Souza is 13-2 in his career with only a single loss since his MMA debut in 2003. He has beaten ten opponents by way of submission with the other three victories being of the decision variety. In addition to Kennedy, “Jacare” holds notable wins in his career over Joey Villasenor, Matt Lindland, and Jason “Mayhem” Miller.