The UFC’s middleweight division could look like a very different place in the coming weeks and months. Georges St-Pierre, unranked at 185-pounds, is fighting for Michael Bisping’s title later this year, while a host of top contenders battle it out among themselves to remain in the top contender slots for whenever that story reaches its conclusion.
However, some fighters appear to be growing weary of the logjam that exists in the middleweight division. Gegard Mousasi, who defeated Chris Weidman by controversial TKO in Buffalo last weekend, is currently out of contract and is expected to be subject to advances from Bellator. This weekend, Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza will join him.
Souza, who fights Robert Whittaker this weekend at UFC on Fox 24, will be out of contract with the UFC when the final bell ring and is also expected to receive interest from Scott Coker, who presided over his fighting career when both were under the Strikeforce banner.
Speaking to MMAFighting, Souza’s manager Gilberto Faria said that talks with the UFC to extend his contract have taken place but an agreement has yet to be reached.
“We’ve been going back and forth (with the UFC) for a while. We still have not reached an agreement on his value, but we will continue to talk after the fight. Our goal is to reach a new agreement shortly. The UFC middleweight belt is Jacare’s goal. With a good contract in place, we will keep fighting the best middleweight talents out there and earn the title shot.”
Bellator have recently been on something of a recruitment drive, adding the likes of Ryan Bader, Michael MacDonald, Dillon Danis, Lorenz Larkin, Matt Mitrione, Phil Davis and more to their roster but their 185-fold remains relatively threadbare. Last weekend, champion Rafael Carvalho defended his belt for the second time against Dutch veteran Melvin Manhoef and the addition of the likes of Souza and/or Mousasi would be a massive shot in the arm for the world’s number two mixed martial arts promotion.