Often viewed as one of the greatest middleweight talents to never win Ultimate Fighting Championship gold, Ronald “Jacare” Souza’s pursuit of the highest title in mixed martial arts has come to an end.
Ronaldo Jacare Souza retires after 18 year MMA run
In a new interview with Combate, the former UFC contender made the announcement that his run in the sport he has competed in for the last 18 years is over.
“I’ve already fought too much, I’ve retired too young from jiu-jitsu, and I think I’ve fought too much in MMA and I have no plans to go back to fighting,” Souza said. “It’s really over. I’m retiring from MMA, and I’m going back to the sport where I made history, the sport I love too much.”
Souza, 41, earned a 26-10 record competing for some of the most notable MMA promotions in the world over the last two decades. He rose to prominence in the sport in his late 20s as a star for Japanese promotion DREAM. He would turn that into a four-year stint with one of the UFC’s chief 2000s era rivals in Strikeforce, where he would reign as their middleweight champion.
Strikeforce was eventually purchased by the UFC in 2011 and then shuddered two years later. All of the organization’s top stars — including Ronda Rousey, Luke Rockhold, Nick Diaz, and Daniel Cormier — would then become UFC talent and build new legacies for themselves in the Octagon.
During his UFC tenure, the Brazilian won nine of 16 and was often a top contender for the middleweight title during that time. However, tough-luck booking and poorly timed losses stopped him from ever getting a shot at the promotion’s middleweight crown. A four-fight losing streak, and a stunning first-round submission loss to Andre Muniz in May, brought his UFC run to an end. It was the only submission defeat the multi-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion ever suffered in MMA.
Although he may be saying goodbye to MMA, he has designs on returning to his BJJ roots and delving back into the sport that originally made him a name in the world of combat sports.
“I’m returning to training and, who knows, [maybe] I’ll go back to competing [in jiu-jitsu]. I’m driven by challenges, and jiu-jitsu is becoming a challenge to me because it’s evolving too much, there are so many new things. It’s beautiful to watch,” Souza said.
What were your favorite “Jacare” Souza moments?