BJJ world champion and UFC contender Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza discusses his upcoming UFC fight against Robert Whittaker, why he’s not fighting Luke Rockhold or Yoel Romero.
Souza said as transcribed by Guilherme Cruz for MMA Fighting :
“Oh, man, I’m motivated in fighting, that doesn’t demotivate me at all. I’m motivated by the challenge that my opponent brings. The belt is the consequence. I’m a believer in God, everybody knows that. When I’m choosing my fight, I put a knee on the ground and ask for God to choose a fight for me, and it’s happening.”
“I’m happy to be fighting. But I have no problem stopping fighting. I stopped competing in jiu-jitsu in 2005 when I was at the top of my career, and if I think it’s too much for me, that I’m full of it, I can stop fighting. That’s it. I can open my own gym, make as much money as I make fighting, and be happy. I have this dream of having my own gym, so I have no problem stopping fighting.”
“No, it doesn’t go through my mind to stop fighting, but if I get full of it, I can stop fighting. I can teach. I have this leverage. And I’m sure, I’ll have a lot of students. Do the math, 400 students training with me.”
Jacare decided to transition to MMA after Roger Gracie broke his arm at the 2004 jiu-jitsu world championship in Rio de Janeiro. Jacare didn’t tap and ended up winning the epic fight on points.
He told MMAFighting.com about how he was disappointed by the BJJ federation, since the only thing he ever received from them was a symbolic medal.
Many things have changed since then, IBJJF now offers the winners of the IBJJF rankings 10,000$ and there are many professional IBJJF events all over the US and Brazil. The UAEJJF also offer significant prize money and there are many professional Jiu-Jitsu events.
“They take too much money from us and simply don’t give anything back. I left jiu-jitsu for MMA because those f—— never came to me asking if I needed anything. I was starving in Rio with a broken arm. My physical therapist was on the same street of IBJJF in Rio. I met them all the time and they never asked if I needed a glass of water. I always fought MMA for love, something I wanted to do. When I first saw the Jungle Fight, I knew I wanted to do that.”
About his MMA debut against Macaco in Jungle fight in 2005, which he lost by tko:
“‘Macaco’ was really tough, he’s still winning fights today. He had fought 25 MMA fights and it was my debut, man. I was stupid enough to fight him, but I learned a lot with that. I realized that MMA was different from jiu-jitsu.”
“I always knew I needed to leave jiu-jitsu to focus on MMA and I heard a lot of critics from the jiu-jitsu practitioners. But today they know that you wasted a lot of time trying to do both.”