After six months of recovery from shoulder surgery, Ronaldo “Jacaré” Souza will return to the Octagon on January 27 against Derek Brunson at UFC Charlotte. That being said, it wasn’t so clear that the grappling ace would step foot on the mats of the Octagon ever again over the course of 2017.
“Jacaré” had already reported pain after his submission victory against Tim Boetsch last February. However, the deciding factor for surgery came after his knockout loss to Robert Whittaker last April. According to the Brazilian, it was the worst injury he has ever suffered in his career. “Jacaré” even considers it to have been more serious than the famous arm break he suffered in 2004 during the final of a jiu-jitsu world championship fight against Roger Gracie. At the time, Souza fought most of the match with the injury, of which there’s plenty of video available online.
His latest injury, though, a pectoral rupture, turned out even worse: “That was a painful injury”, Souza said. “It was complicated, a very serious injury. It was much worse (than the broken arm in 2004). I even thought about stopping fighting altogether because the doctor told me I’d need surgery and I’d have to stay away from MMA for six months without a fight. I was like, [expletive], for the love of God. I thought about hanging up the gloves.”
In the end, the procedure turned out a success and “Jacaré” is now only two weeks away from returning to the cage. The painful episode, though, made the Brazilian reflect on his future after retiring from MMA competition. According to the 38-year-old, his intention is to return to his origins and to start teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the sport that he originally became one of the best in the world in, to others.
“Thank God, I have a strong name in jiu-jitsu”, Souza said. “And when I open up a gym, the likelihood of me having enough student is good. In the future, my dream is to be a jiu-jitsu teacher. This is my dream. Not MMA. I like MMA, but what I love is jiu-jitsu.”