A couple of weeks ago, chances are not too many people were talking about “Jacare” Souza’s title shot prospects. But, now that the perennial contender’s set to face Chris Weidman at UFC 230, that appears to be changing.
Souza was initially booked to fight David Branch at the November 3rd card. But, after Luke Rockhold was forced out of his bout with Chris Weidman, Souza was moved into the co-headlining spot. Branch, meanwhile, will now face Jared Cannonier.
Since the changes were made, the Souza spoke with MMA Fighting, and while doing so, he had this to say about facing Weidman, and whether a win could lead to a championship bout.
“…Whoever wins will be up there. That’s a fact and I don’t even need to talk too much about it. I want to go up (in the ranking). I want to get in there, win — and win convincingly — and then say ‘brother, I’ll sit down and only call me if you’re going to talk about the belt.’
“Everyone else is injured, there’s no one else to fight. My focus is on this fight (with Weidman), of course, but everybody knows that this fight will take me up there.”
“My fight with Kelvin Gastleum was close, I could have gotten the win,” Souza added. “My body language was weird in the third round and could have mattered for the judges, I understand that, but I landed more strikes. I beat (Yoel) Romero. Every time my fight is close, I lose. I have to go there and win, and win for real. I can’t just kind of win.”
Now, Souza didn’t come out and say that a win over Weidman will definitely, deliver him a title shot. But, could a victory over the former champ lead to that? That depends.
First off, Souza will need to go out and score an emphatic, dominant victory over Weidman to get people buzzing about him fighting for the title. While Souza’s losses to Gastelum and Romero were extremely competitive, he’s not long removed from a stoppage loss to the champ, Robert Whittaker. So, if the latter does defeat Gastelum in early 2019, would most fans really be pumped for Whittaker – Souza 2? Maybe?
Now if Gastelum defeats Whittaker, however, and Souza starches Weidman, then, “Jacare’s” chances of getting a title shot will jump up considerably (on account of the fact their bout was so close). That said, don’t be surprised if the UFC takes a look at say, Israel Adesanya, if he defeats Derek Brunson at UFC 230. Or if Paulo Costa ends up facing and defeating Romero, then he’ll definitely be in the running as well.
UFC 230 will be hosted by Madison Square Garden in New York City.