Like the other fighters on the card at UFC 249, Ronaldo Souza has had to improvise and adapt during his fight camp, but he revealed he had a secret weapon to ensure he heads to Jacksonville in tip-top shape – his wife.
“Jacare’s” wife regularly trains crossfit, and Souza (26-8 MMA, 9-5 UFC) has been forced to adapt his training to take advantage of his wife’s at-home training equipment as he gets himself sharp ahead of his fight with Uriah Hall on May 9.
“For me, it’s hard, because I have to use my wife’s weights,” he told MMA Junkie with a laugh. “She has a lot of crossfit stuff, and I have to use this. It’s hard. When I trained with her, it made me sore! My wife is so strong, and she helped me a lot.”
Another positive to Souza’s upcoming assignment is the location of the fight, itself. Jacksonville is just a couple of hours’ drive from the Brazilian’s Florida home, and “Jacare” says he’ll drive to the host city just a few days ahead of the contest, rather than stay there for the full week.
“I want to go three days before the fight,” he explained. “I’m going to drive. It’s not too far from my home; it’s great for me.”
Souza’s recent move up to light heavyweight ended in defeat at the hands of top contender Jan Blachowicz and, even though he admitted he’d consider another fight at 205 pounds in the future, he insists his fighting future remains in the middleweight division.
“I moved up because at that time that was a good fight for me,” Souza said. “Blachowicz is a great champ – he’s in the top of the light heavyweights. That’s why I accepted that fight. I don’t have a problem moving up to fight at light heavyweight one more time.
“Middleweight is better for me because at light heavyweight the guys are so much bigger. When I fought against Blachowicz, it made me scared a little bit, because he’s bigger – he’s like a heavyweight. I trained with heavyweights to fight against Blachowicz, but he was bigger than the heavyweights I trained with! I prefer fighting at middleweight because it’s my division.”
Dropping back to his natural weight class at UFC 249, Souza will face the enigmatic Hall, whose striking skills can produce spectacular results inside the octagon. “Jacare” knows all about Hall’s abilities but says he will find a way to overcome them and get his hand raised once again.
“I have a lot of respect for Hall,” he said. “He’s a great fighter, he’s incredible, he’s a knockout master. But I’m ready to use my skills and beat him. I did a very good training camp for this fight and on fight day I want to prove I’m better than him.”
If he succeeds in that mission, Souza says he wants to avenge one of his two recent losses, to either Yoel Romero or Kelvin Gastelum.
“I’d like to make a rematch against Romero,” Souza said. “I believe that is going to be a great fight – or Kelvin Gastelum. I have to prove that I’m the king of the rematch, because I’ve never lost a rematch.”