Ronaldo Souza

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ronaldo Souza
Ronaldo Jacaré Souza.jpg
BornRonaldo Souza dos Santos
(1979-12-07) December 7, 1979 (age 43)
Vila Velha, Espírito Santo, Brazil[1]
Other namesJacare
ResidenceOrlando, Florida, United States
Height6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
DivisionLight Heavyweight (2019)[2]
Middleweight (2003-present)
Reach72 in (183 cm)
StyleBrazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Fighting out ofManaus, Amazonas, Brazil
TeamFusion X-Cel Performance
4th deg. BJJ black belt
(under Henrique Machado)[3][4]

Judo black belt
(under Henrique Machado)[4]

Years active2003–2021
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout8
By submission14
By decision4
By knockout4
By submission1
By decision5
No contests1
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
Medal record
Representing  Brazil
Submission Wrestling
ADCC World Championship
Silver medal – second place 2003 Sao Paulo -88kg
Silver medal – second place 2005 Long Beach Absolute
Gold medal – first place 2005 Long Beach -88kg
Gold medal – first place 2009 Barcelona Superfight
Silver medal – second place 2011 Nottingham Superfight
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
World Jiu-Jitsu Championship
Gold medal – first place 2004 Rio de Janeiro Absolute
Silver medal – second place 2004 Rio de Janeiro -88kg
Gold medal – first place 2005 Rio de Janeiro Absolute
Gold medal – first place 2005 Rio de Janeiro -88kg
CBJJO World Jiu-Jitsu Cup
Silver medal – second place 2005 Rio de Janeiro -88 kg
Silver medal – second place 2005 Rio de Janeiro Absolute
Gold medal – first place 2004 Rio de Janeiro -88 kg
Gold medal – first place 2004 Rio de Janeiro Absolute
Pan-American Championship
Gold medal – first place 2004 Florida, USA -88kg
Gold medal – first place 2004 Florida, USA Absolute
European Championship
Gold medal – first place 2005 Lisbon, Portugal -88kg
Silver medal – second place 2005 Lisbon, Portugal −Absolute
Brazilian Championship
Gold medal – first place 2004 Rio De Janeiro, Brazil −88kg

Ronaldo Souza dos Santos[1] (born December 7, 1979), nicknamed "Jacare" (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʒakaˈɾɛ]), is a Brazilian former professional mixed martial artist, submission grappler and 4th degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) black belt.

Souza was a multiple time BJJ World champion in coloured belts before becoming a two-time black belt World Champion, ADCC Submission Fighting World Champion, CBJJO World Cup Champion, Brazilian National Champion and European Open Champion.

Souza transitioned to MMA in 2003, competing for UFC from 2013 to 2021. A highly regarded grappler on the world stage, Souza is a former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion, and has also formerly competed for DREAM and Jungle Fight.


Souza was born in Vila Velha, Brazil, into a cafuzo family and was raised in Cariacica, Brazil. Souza had a rough upbringing, and on the day he turned 15, he saw one of his good friends get shot to death. After this event, Souza's mother moved him to Manaus to go and live with his brother and he started training in Judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu when he was 17. He is an eight-time World Jiu-Jitsu Champion, including gold medals in the Openweight class in 2003, 2004 and 2005. His other credentials include the 2005 77–87 kg ADCC Champion and the 2005 ADCC Absolute Division runner-up, only losing to Roger Gracie who outweighed him by approximately 25 lbs. Along with Roger Gracie and Marcelo Garcia, Souza is widely considered to be among the greatest BJJ practitioners of his time.

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Souza made his mixed martial arts debut on September 9, 2003, at Jungle Fight's inaugural event where he lost to Jorge "Macaco" Patino by KO at 3:13 into the first round. He returned to mixed martial arts eight months later at Jungle Fight 2 securing a submission win over Victor Babkir under a minute into the first round. His next fight was in April 2006 at Jungle Fight 6 where he got his second win, defeating Alexander Shlemenko by an arm triangle choke submission. He went on to fight twice before the end of 2006, winning both fights by submission during the first round.

In 2006, Souza fought and drew with UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture in a grappling contest.[5] After the match Souza was invited by Couture to train at his gym. Souza accepted and started training at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas.[6] Souza's first fight of 2007 was on May 19 with him scoring a submission win due to strikes over veteran Bill Vucick at Gracie Fighting Championships: Evolution. He would next fight twice within a two-week period on September 29 and October 13, scoring two submission wins both within the first round.


In 2008, Souza signed with Japanese MMA-promotion DREAM and was scheduled to participate in the 2008 DREAM Middleweight Grand-Prix. In the first round of the tournament, at DREAM 2 on April 29, 2008, he defeated Ian Murphy by a rear-naked choke submission in the first round.[7][8] This secured him a place in the quarter-finals which took place at DREAM 4 on June 15 where he fought former ICON Sport Middleweight Champion Jason "Mayhem" Miller. The fight went the distance with Souza continuously going for submissions with Miller escaping multiple rear-naked choke, leglock and armbar-attempts while mounting his own offense on the feet. Souza was awarded a unanimous decision victory which secured him a place in the semi-final of the Middleweight Grand-Prix.[9]

In the semi-finals which took place at DREAM 6 on September 23, Souza defeated Zelg Galesic early in the first round by armbar submission. The victory earned him a place in the finals of the tournament and a shot at the DREAM Middleweight Championship against Gegard Mousasi that same night. In the fight Souza was knocked out early in the first round by an upkick as he attempted to dive past Mousasi's guard to land a strike of his own. After participating in the tournament, Souza left Xtreme Couture and went to San Diego to train with Saulo and Xande Ribeiro, before leaving to train with Anderson Silva and André Galvão in preparation for Silva's upcoming bout with Thales Leites at UFC 97 at Black House.[10]

Souza fought in the DREAM Middleweight Championship in a rematch with Jason Miller at DREAM 9 after Gegard Mousasi vacated the title when moving up to Light Heavyweight. The fight was called a no contest due to an illegal kick to the head that opened up a gash on Souza's head.[11]


Souza made his Strikeforce debut on December 19, 2009, at Strikeforce: Evolution with a first-round submission win over Matt Lindland, via arm-triangle choke. In this fight, Souza showed a major improvement in his stand up game and striking. Souza faced Joey Villaseñor on May 15, 2010, at Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery.[12] He won the fight via unanimous decision,[13] dominating the first round, being very aggressive, achieving the mount position and almost achieving the submission, but slowed down on the 2nd and 3rd round.[14]

Souza fought Tim Kennedy on August 21, 2010, at Strikeforce: Houston for the vacant Strikeforce Middleweight Championship, and won via unanimous decision.[15] Souza then defended the belt for the first time against Robbie Lawler, on January 29, 2011, at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg.[13]

In his second defense, Souza lost his Middleweight Championship against American Kickboxing Academy fighter Luke Rockhold via unanimous decision (50–45, 48–47, and 48–47).[16]

On March 3, 2012, Souza made his sixth Strikeforce appearance against late replacement Bristol Marunde. Souza won via arm-triangle choke, submitting Marunde at 2:43 of the final round.[17]

On August 18, 2012, Souza faced Derek Brunson in his seventh Strikeforce appearance. Souza dropped Brunson early with a counter right hand which planted Brunson on the mat and landed three ground strikes, knocking out Brunson in just 41 seconds.

Souza faced UFC veteran Ed Herman at the final Strikeforce card, Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine, on January 12, 2013.[18] He won via submission in the first round.[13]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]


Souza signed a five-fight deal with the UFC in January 2013.[19]

Souza was expected to make his promotional debut against Costas Philippou on May 18, 2013, at UFC on FX 8.[20] Philippou pulled out of the bout in early May, citing a cut above his eye, and was replaced by Chris Camozzi.[21][22] Souza arm-triangle choked Camozzi unconscious in the first round.[23]

Souza next knocked out Yushin Okami in the first round on September 4, 2013, at UFC Fight Night 28.[24]


Souza beat Francis Carmont by unanimous decision (29–28, 29–28, and 30–27) on February 15, 2014, at UFC Fight Night 36.[25] After, he said he was injured during his training camp and would require a minimum of six weeks for recovery.[26]

Souza was expected to rematch Gegard Mousasi on August 2, 2014, at UFC 176.[27] When the event was cancelled, the bout was rescheduled for September 5, 2014, at UFC Fight Night 50.[28] Souza won via submission in the third round, earning his first Performance of the Night bonus award.[29][30]


Souza was expected to face Yoel Romero on February 28, 2015, at UFC 184.[31] Souza pulled out of the fight on January 15, due to pneumonia. The bout was rescheduled for April 18, 2015 at UFC on Fox 15.[32] Romero pulled out of the fight a week before the event, citing a ligament and meniscus tear in his knee.[33] Souza instead rematched returning veteran Chris Camozzi, submitting him with a first-round armbar.[34]

The bout with Romero was scheduled for a third time, eventually taking place on December 12, 2015, at UFC 194.[35] Souza lost the bout via split decision.[36] 12 of 17 media outlets scored the bout in favor of Souza, and 3 of 17 scored it a draw.[37]


Souza faced Vitor Belfort on May 14, 2016, at UFC 198.[38] He won the fight via TKO in the first round and was awarded a Performance of the Night bonus.[39][40]

Souza was expected to face Luke Rockhold in a rematch on November 27, 2016, at UFC Fight Night 101.[41] However, the pairing was cancelled on November 1, 2016, after Rockhold was ruled out of the contest after sustaining an undisclosed injury. As a result, Souza was removed from the card as well.[42]


Souza faced Tim Boetsch on February 11, 2017, at UFC 208.[43] He won the fight via submission in the first round.[44] The win also earned Souza his third Performance of the Night bonus award.[45]

Souza fought Robert Whittaker on April 15, 2017, at UFC on Fox 24.[46] He lost by second-round TKO.[47] During the event weekend, Souza signed a new, eight-fight deal with UFC.[48]


A rematch with Derek Brunson took place on January 27, 2018, in the main event at UFC on Fox 27.[49] Souza won the fight via TKO in the first round.[50] This win earned him the Performance of the Night bonus.[51]

Souza faced Kelvin Gastelum on May 12, 2018, at UFC 224.[52] He lost the fight via split decision.[53] The fight also received Fight of the Night honors.[54]

Souza was expected to face David Branch on November 3, 2018, at UFC 230.[55] However, on October 19, 2018, It was reported that Souza replaced injured Luke Rockhold to face Chris Weidman in the event.[56] He won the fight via knockout in the third round.[57] Both fighters earned Fight of the Night honors.[58]


Souza was scheduled to face Yoel Romero on April 27, 2019, at UFC on ESPN 3.[59][60] However, it was reported in early April that Romero pulled out of the bout due to illness.[61] Souza remained on the card and faced Jack Hermansson in the main event at UFC Fight Night: Jacaré vs. Hermansson.[62] He lost the fight by unanimous decision.[63]

Souza moved up to the Light Heavyweight division and faced Jan Błachowicz on November 16, 2019, at UFC Fight Night 164.[2] He would lose the fight by split decision.[64]


Souza was scheduled to face Uriah Hall for a middleweight bout on April 18, 2020, at UFC 249.[65] However, on April 9, Dana White, the president of UFC announced that this event was postponed[66] and the bout and event were rescheduled for May 9, 2020.[67] On May 8, Souza had to withdraw from the fight after testing positive for COVID-19.[68]

Souza was expected to face Marvin Vettori on December 12, 2020, at UFC 256.[69] However, the bout was scrapped when it was revealed Vettori would be serving as a late replacement to face Jack Hermansson at UFC on ESPN 19 and Souza instead faced Kevin Holland.[70] He lost the fight via knockout in the first round.[71]


Souza faced André Muniz on May 15, 2021, at UFC 262.[72] He lost the fight via technical submission in the first round after his arm snapped while trapped in an armbar.[73] Souza underwent surgery to repair his right humerus.[74] The bout was the last of his prevailing contract, making him a free agent after the organization did not re-sign Souza.[75][76]

On August 10, 2021, Souza announced that he was retiring from MMA, hinting at a return to BJJ.[77][78]

Boxing career[edit]

Souza was booked to compete in his boxing debut against fellow MMA veteran Vitor Belfort at Gamebred Boxing 4 on April 1, 2023.[79] He lost the fight by unanimous decision with scores of 58-54, 58-54, and 57-55.[80]

Personal life[edit]

Souza and his wife, Larissa Carvalho, have three children.[81]

On October 8, 2020, Souza revealed the plans to start his own BJJ Academy in Orlando, Florida.[82] In 2022, he expressed plans for a debut in boxing.[83]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Brazilian jiu-jitsu and submission grappling[edit]

Main Achievements (Black Belt):[1]

  • ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship:
    • ADCC 2011 Superfight Runner-up (against Braulio Estima)
    • ADCC 2009 Superfight Champion (against Robert Drysdale)
    • ADCC 2005 77 – 87 kg: 1st Place
    • ADCC 2005 Openweight: 2nd Place
    • ADCC 2003 77 – 87 kg: 2nd Place
    • ADCC 2003 Brazilian Qualifiers 77 – 87 kg: 1st Place
  • IBJJF World Championship:
    • 2005 Black Belt Medium Heavy: 1st Place
    • 2005 Black Belt Open Weight: 1st Place
    • 2004 Black Belt Medium Heavy: 2nd Place
    • 2004 Black Belt Open Weight: 1st Place
  • CBJJO World Cup:
    • 2005 Black belt: 2nd place
    • 2004 Black belt: 1st place
  • IBJJF Pan American Championship:
    • 2004 Black Belt Medium Heavy: 1st Place
    • 2004 Black Belt Open Weight: 1st Place
  • IBJJF European Open Championship:
    • 2005 Black Belt Medium Heavy: 1st Place
    • 2005 Black Belt Open Weight: 2nd Place

Main Achievements (Colored Belts):[1]

  • IBJJF World Championship:
    • 2003 Brown Belt Medium Heavy: 1st Place
    • 2003 Brown Belt Open Weight: 1st Place
    • 2002 Brown Belt Medium Heavy: 1st Place
    • 2002 Brown Belt Open Weight: 2nd Place
    • 2001 Purple Belt Middle: 1st Place
    • 2001 Purple Belt Open Weight: 1st Place
  • CBJJ Brazilian National Championship:
    • 2004 Brown Belt Medium Heavy: 1st Place

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
37 matches 26 wins 10 losses
By knockout 8 4
By submission 14 1
By decision 4 5
No contests 1
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 26–10 (1) André Muniz Technical Submission (armbar) UFC 262 May 15, 2021 1 3:59 Houston, Texas, United States
Loss 26–9 (1) Kevin Holland KO (punches) UFC 256 December 12, 2020 1 1:45 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Return to Middleweight.
Loss 26–8 (1) Jan Błachowicz Decision (split) UFC Fight Night: Błachowicz vs. Jacaré November 16, 2019 5 5:00 São Paulo, Brazil Light Heavyweight debut.
Loss 26–7 (1) Jack Hermansson Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Jacaré vs. Hermansson April 27, 2019 5 5:00 Sunrise, Florida, United States
Win 26–6 (1) Chris Weidman KO (punches) UFC 230 November 3, 2018 3 2:46 New York City, New York, United States Fight of the Night.
Loss 25–6 (1) Kelvin Gastelum Decision (split) UFC 224 May 12, 2018 3 5:00 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Fight of the Night.
Win 25–5 (1) Derek Brunson KO (head kick and punches) UFC on Fox: Jacaré vs. Brunson 2 January 27, 2018 1 3:50 Charlotte, North Carolina, United States Performance of the Night.
Loss 24–5 (1) Robert Whittaker TKO (head kick and punches) UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Reis April 15, 2017 2 3:28 Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Win 24–4 (1) Tim Boetsch Submission (kimura) UFC 208 February 11, 2017 1 3:41 Brooklyn, New York, United States Performance of the Night.
Win 23–4 (1) Vitor Belfort TKO (punches) UFC 198 May 14, 2016 1 4:38 Curitiba, Brazil Performance of the Night.
Loss 22–4 (1) Yoel Romero Decision (split) UFC 194 December 12, 2015 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 22–3 (1) Chris Camozzi Submission (armbar) UFC on Fox: Machida vs. Rockhold April 18, 2015 1 2:33 Newark, New Jersey, United States
Win 21–3 (1) Gegard Mousasi Submission (guillotine choke) UFC Fight Night: Jacaré vs. Mousasi September 5, 2014 3 4:30 Mashantucket, Connecticut, United States Performance of the Night.
Win 20–3 (1) Francis Carmont Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Mousasi February 15, 2014 3 5:00 Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil
Win 19–3 (1) Yushin Okami TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Teixeira vs. Bader September 4, 2013 1 2:47 Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Win 18–3 (1) Chris Camozzi Technical Submission (arm-triangle choke) UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Rockhold May 18, 2013 1 3:37 Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil Submission of the Night.
Win 17–3 (1) Ed Herman Submission (kimura) Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine January 12, 2013 1 3:10 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States Catchweight (194 lb) bout.
Win 16–3 (1) Derek Brunson KO (punches) Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman August 18, 2012 1 0:41 San Diego, California, United States
Win 15–3 (1) Bristol Marunde Submission (arm-triangle choke) Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey March 3, 2012 3 2:43 Columbus, Ohio, United States
Loss 14–3 (1) Luke Rockhold Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov September 10, 2011 5 5:00 Cincinnati, Ohio, United States Lost the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship.
Win 14–2 (1) Robbie Lawler Submission (rear-naked choke) Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg January 29, 2011 3 2:00 San Jose, California, United States Defended the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship.
Win 13–2 (1) Tim Kennedy Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce: Houston August 21, 2010 5 5:00 Houston, Texas, United States Won the vacant Strikeforce Middleweight Championship.
Win 12–2 (1) Joey Villaseñor Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery May 15, 2010 3 5:00 St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Win 11–2 (1) Matt Lindland Submission (arm-triangle choke) Strikeforce: Evolution December 19, 2009 1 4:18 San Jose, California, United States
NC 10–2 (1) Jason Miller NC (cut) DREAM 9 May 26, 2009 1 2:33 Yokohama, Japan For the vacant DREAM Middleweight Championship.
Loss 10–2 Gegard Mousasi KO (upkick) Dream 6: Middleweight Grand Prix 2008 Final Round September 23, 2008 1 2:15 Saitama, Japan For the vacant DREAM Middleweight Championship.
Win 10–1 Zelg Galešić Submission (armbar) Dream 6: Middleweight Grand Prix 2008 Final Round September 23, 2008 1 1:27 Saitama, Japan
Win 9–1 Jason Miller Decision (unanimous) Dream 4: Middleweight Grand Prix 2008 Second Round June 15, 2008 2 5:00 Yokohama, Japan
Win 8–1 Ian Murphy Submission (rear-naked choke) Dream 2: Middleweight Grand Prix 2008 First Round April 29, 2008 1 3:37 Saitama, Japan
Win 7–1 Wendell Santos TKO (submission to punches) Hero's The Jungle October 13, 2007 1 1:40 Manaus, Brazil
Win 6–1 José de Ribamar Submission (armbar) Amazon Challenge September 29, 2007 1 3:28 Manaus, Brazil
Win 5–1 Bill Vucick TKO (submission to punches) Gracie Fighting Championships: Evolution May 19, 2007 1 3:01 Columbus, Ohio, United States
Win 4–1 Haim Gozali Submission (rear-naked choke) Jungle Fight Europe December 17, 2006 1 1:34 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Win 3–1 Alexey Prokofiev Submission (triangle choke) Fury Fighting Championship 1 September 27, 2006 1 2:30 São Paulo, Brazil
Win 2–1 Alexander Shlemenko Technical Submission (arm-triangle choke) Jungle Fight 6 April 29, 2006 1 2:10 Manaus, Brazil
Win 1–1 Victor Babkir TKO (submission to punches) Jungle Fight 2 May 15, 2004 1 0:56 Manaus, Brazil
Loss 0–1 Jorge Patino KO (punch) Jungle Fight 1 September 13, 2003 1 3:13 Manaus, Brazil


Boxing record[edit]

1 fight 0 wins 1 loss
By decision 0 1
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
1 Loss 0–1 Vitor Belfort UD 6 1 Apr 2023 Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]

Title last held by
Jake Shields
4th Strikeforce Middleweight Champion
August 21, 2010 – September 10, 2011
Succeeded by