UFC Middleweight Conundrum: Jacare or Rockhold?
by George Portoulas
UFC on Fox 15 is in the books. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Luke Rockhold each won their fights and each made a statement by finishing their respective opponents. Rockhold (14-2, 4-1 in the UFC) was ranked at number four in the middleweight class before submitting former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida in the second round.
Jacare was scheduled to face Yoel Romero, until Romero had to pull out of the contest due to a knee injury sustained in training. Chris Camozzi saved the day stepping up to the plate six days before the fight. Jacare (22-3, 1 NC) made quick work of Camozzi by submitting him in the first round, and remaining the number one contender.
With middleweight champion Chris Weidman set to defend his title against Vitor Belfort at UFC 187 on May 23, the question is – who gets the next shot at the middleweight title, Jacare, or Rockhold?
The logical answer would be Jacare, since he is the number one ranked middleweight, and has not lost since September 2011, which was back in Strikeforce. Jacare is undefeated in the UFC at 5-0, finishing four of his five fights, and simply dominating everyone in his presence.
Who was the last person to defeat Jacare you ask?
Rockhold defeated Jacare at Strikeforce – Barnett vs. Kharitonov, winning the middleweight title. This with the combination of Rockhold defeating a higher ranked opponent than Jacare on Saturday makes Rockhold believe he should be the next in line.
“No offense to Jacare, but I am the number one contender. I’m the best guy around, and it’s my title shot” said Rockhold following his stunning performance over Machida on Saturday.
Dana White says the next person to fight for the middleweight title between Jacare and Rockhold is still up in the air. A good problem to have if you are a promoter.
As mentioned in my article last night on the aftermath of UFC on Fox 15 (click here to read), Jacare should technically get the next shot at the winner of Weidman vs. Belfort, and Rockhold could face the loser of that matchup. If Weidman retains the belt, it could be Weidman vs. Jacare next, and Rockhold could then face Belfort in a rematch and try to avenge his only loss in the UFC.
Rockhold does have a point in regards to owning a win over on Jacare, but that was in another organization, and in the end, Jacare is undefeated in the UFC, while Rockhold has the TKO loss to Belfort still haunting him. Regardless of the decision Dana White makes, both Jacare and Rockhold are legit threats to the division, and great potentials to winning the belt.