In a little less than a month UFC middleweight Ronaldo Souza will have a chance to prove he belongs in the discussion for a title-shot thanks to a tilt with Yushin Okami at UFC Fight Night 28. Okami is a former contender and seen by many as one of the toughest draws at 185 pounds due to his size, technique, and overall success in the Octagon.
Though “Jacare” would love to challenge for divisional gold if victorious against Okami, he also knows fellow Brazilian Vitor Belfort is ahead of him in the rankings and will likely be called upon to face the winner of the championship clash at UFC 168 between Chris Weidman-Anderson Silva. As such, Souza is putting all of his energy into preparing for Okami and will let the rest of the pieces fall in place once he come out of the clash with his hand raised.
“My focus is not getting the submission or the knockout, it is getting the win. I’m going there to win and I will win,” said Souza in an interview with MMAFighting. “I have been training with some new talents from X-Gym, they are helping me a lot. I have trained my whole life with guys that are that hungry, so you can bet I’ll be fine there. I’m ready for this challenge.”
Souza continued on to explain he was open to an eventual pairing with “The Phenom” but wasn’t expecting it, especially given Belfort’s desire to wait for his crack at the belt rather than risk his spot in line by fighting at middleweight beforehand.
“Of course I’d like [to fight Vitor]. But that’s up to the UFC,” Souza stated. “I believe Vitor showed, after his last two fights that he should fight for the title. He destroyed everybody and is the next contender. But it’s up to the UFC, I’d accept that fight.”
The 18-3 Souza is on a four-fight winning streak including a first-frame submission of Chris Camozzi in his UFC debut. Comparably, Okami is 29-7 and come out triumphant in three consecutive clashes. Their bout will serve as the co-headliner of the September 4 show in Brazil.