Jacaré Souza Joins UFC, Says He Feels ‘Butterflies’

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Ronaldo jacaré comemora a vitória no Strikeforce. Foto: Esther Lin/Forza LCC via Getty Images

Jacaré celebrates victory at Strikeforce event in Oklahoma (Photo by Esther Lin/Forza LCC via Getty Images).

2013 marks the completion of Ronaldo “Jacaré” Souza’s first decade as an MMA fighter, having made a spirited debut back at the inaugural Jungle Fight show, in the Brazilian state of Amazonas. And his 10-year anniversary present couldn’t be more appropriate: a berth in the UFC, the biggest stage in MMA.

On Tuesday evening, UFC Tonight confirmed that “Jacaré” Souza, Roger Gracie, Gegard Mousasi and a list of other Strikeforce hires will be work their trade in the octagon in 2013.

Vacationing in the North Brazilian city of Belém do Pará, Jacaré spoke to GRACIEMAG.com about the UFC and his latest win, when he tapped Ed Herman out via kimura at the Strikeforce finale last Saturday.

“The coolest part about the hold is that any white belt can do it, the only difference being the years of training that went into proper placement and adapting it to my physique,” the two-time absolute champion of the world told GRACIEMAG.com in the following interview.

GRACIEMAG.com: You’re now an experienced fighter who is confident and has a high-level MMA game. Will you nevertheless be feeling tense when you walk out to the octagon?

RONALDO JACARÉ: So far I haven’t felt any tension. Just joy. Being in the world’s biggest MMA event is a major joy. Tension I’ll only feel when I’m about to walk out to fight. The butterflies I feel in my stomach on the way to the cage are the same as I used to feel during my Jiu-Jitsu days. It’s the same feeling. But as I like the adrenaline, I’m stoked!

A decade in the sport, 21 MMA fights, 17 wins and 13 submission—what’s changed in your Jiu-Jitsu since 2003?

It’s changed a lot. It’s not easy to simply transport competition Jiu-Jitsu to the MMA game. And that’s something I learned over time. The guys defend really well, slip away, and sometimes the fight gets tricky. The Gi Jiu-Jitsu game is really different from the Jiu-Jitsu used in MMA. I’m in constant evolution, and the only secret to winning is lots of training.

Where do you feel you stand in the middleweight rankings now you’re in the UFC? On our Facebook page folks are already asking to see you up against the best—Weidman, Anderson…

Whoa, I feel I’m down at the bottom of the division. I just arrived on the scene now, and I have to move up step by step to make it to the top ten in my weight class. I want to carve a place out for myself little by little, and I’ll give my all to do it. I feel I’m going through great evolution and will make it.

Is there anyone in the UFC you’d like to face? Is there anybody in the UFC who inspires you?

I don’t pick opponents. That’s the responsibility of the UFC matchmakers now. I admire fighters who go on the attack. I’m a fan of Minotauro, for example. Regardless of what happens in a fight of his, win or lose, I’m his fan. He’s a martial arts and Jiu-Jitsu icon, and it’s gratifying for us Brazilians to have a guy like that representing us.

You said you wanted to end your tenure at Strikeforce with a finish, and you did. How did that feel?

Mission accomplished, you know? I started my career at Strikeforce with a finish, and Saturday I got a finish. It was an immense joy, since Jiu-Jitsu came in with me and left with me. But still, I haven’t shown all I’ve got yet. I always give it my best; but I still haven’t shown everything I’ve got yet.

What’s the secret to getting a Kimura so tight like you did against Ed Herman?

The coolest part is that the Kimura is a move that I can do and that a white belt can do, too. The only difference being that I practice it, study it every day. Also, everyone is a different size, has different strength. You have to work on it a lot to adapt it to your body. You can compare the way all the Jiu-Jitsu fighters in the world do it, and each fighter may do it slightly differently. And it works for them all.

To wrap up, Jaca, there are already GRACIEMAG readers calling for you to fight Sonnen right off the bat and teach him to speak kindly of Jiu-Jitsu.

Cool, I’m grateful to the readers for thinking of me, but Demian Maia’s already taken care of that, hasn’t he? He taught him what the pressure of a triangle is like around the neck and arm. Sonnen’s learned; let him be.

Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
January, 12, 2013

  • Tarec Saffiedine defeated Nate Marquardt via unanimous judges’ decision
  • Daniel Cormier defeated Dion Staring via TKO at 4:02 min of R2
  • Josh Barnett subbed Nandor Guelmino via arm-and-neck choke from mount at 2:11 min of R1
  • Gegard Mousasi choked out Mike Kyle at 4:09 min of R1
  • Ronaldo Jacaré subbed Ed Herman via Kimura lock at 4:38 min of R1
  • Ryan Couture defeated KJ Noons via split judges’ decision
  • Tim Kennedy tapped out Trevor Smith via guillotine at 1:36 min of R3
  • Pat Healy defeated Kurt Holobaugh via unanimous judges’ decision
  • Roger Gracie tapped out Anthony Smith at 3:16 min of R2
  • Adriano Martins defeated Jorge Gurgel via unanimous decision
  • Estevan Payan defeated Michael Bravo via TKO at 4:01 min of R2

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