Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza feels his win over Vitor Belfort pushed him to the status of No. 1 contender in the middleweight division.
Souza stormed through Belfort, landing a big takedown before busting him open and earning his 17th career first round finish in the co-main event of UFC 198 Saturday night.
With the win, Souza (21-4) is now 9-1 over his last 10 and 6-1 inside the Octagon. The lone setback during that time came via split decision to Yoel Romero.
“I deserve the title shot,” he said. “I earned it and deserve this fight.”
The current champion, Luke Rockhold, actually bested Souza back in 2011 for the Strikeforce title, scoring a decision victory.
“I am gonna finish Luke Rockhold,” Souza said. “That fight, the judge was (doing) his first fight as a judge. He gave him five rounds and that was absurd.”