Going into UFC Charlotte headliner, “Jacaré” says both he and Derek Brunson have evolved, apart from one detail

In the main event of UFC 217 last November, Georges St-Pierre submitted Michael Bisping to win the UFC’s middleweight belt in his return to the Octagon. A little over a month later, St-Pierre vacated the title in favor of a move to his old stomping grounds at welterweight. Count Ronaldo “Jacaré” Souza among those who were not surprised by the Canadian’s move.

“It was weird”, Souza told AG. Fight. “Everybody knew that St-Pierre was going to get in there and do his thing, get the belt and give it up. He’s too small for this division. He had a bit of trouble with Bisping, imagine what would’ve happened against Rockhold or another one of the bigger guys in the division. Imagine [Yoel] Romero. It was going to be a slaughter. Of course, I expected [him to vacate the title]. He had never fought in this division, he only came to fight Bisping.”

Having not fought April of last year due to shoulder surgery, Souza moved to Orlando, Florida with his family in the meantime. Despite having been invited to join the ranks of Florida’s most renowned MMA squad, American Top Team, “Jacaré” decided to stay away from the gym, instead training at Fuxion X-Cel Performance with the likes of UFC welterweight standout Mike Perry and former UFC fighter Alex Nicholson.

“I’ve always had the invitation to train at ATT”, Souza said. “I’m very happy to have such a gigantic team, one of the best MMA teams in the world, with their doors open for me. But I live far from ATT, far away. I’m good here at Fusion X-Cel, I have everything I need, the team is very strong. But I am going to visit ATT and do some training there. They have an open door, I have always respected everyone there and I’m very happy to have the opportunity to train and to know that the doors of ATT are open for me to train.”

About to step into the Octagon for the first time representing his new team, “Jacaré” will be featured in UFC Charlotte’s main event on January 27 opposite Derek Brunson. Souza has already defeated Brunson in 2012 by knockout in the first round. That doesn’t make “Jacaré” believe that, six years later, the five-rounder will be a walk in the park, though.

“Everything has changed”, Souza said. “It’s been a long time [since the first fight]. We’re different fighters, better athletes physically and better athletes technically. What doesn’t change is that he keeps saying the same things he said when he fought me the first time. So, that’s what hasn’t changed. He talks a lot. He has evolved a lot. I’m fine physically and I’m there to do a good job. In my fight with Brunson, my goal is to make him walk back and impose my will.”

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