In a statement released by the promotion, Souza expressed his pleasure at the signing:
“I am very excited that I will have the opportunity to fight in STRIKEFORCE amongst many of the worlds best middleweight fighters. STRIKEFORCE has an extremely deep roster of top middleweight fighters. I am looking forward to the challenge and to taking my career to the next level.”
Souza is better known in Japan simply as Ronaldo Jacare. He got the nickname in his hometown of Manaus, Brazil–a Portuguese term for a species of alligator that is common to the area. He clearly likes the moniker, and is known for making ring entrances either shimmying on the ground like his reptilian namesake or making alligator jaws with his arms.
He’s also considered one of the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners in the sport. He was a runner up in the 2008 DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix Tournament, losing in the finals to Gegard Mousasi. Jacare was in control of the fight until he got caught by a Mousasi upkick that knocked him unconscious. His only other loss in MMA competition came in his professional debut in 2003. In his last fight, he faced American Jason Mayhem Miller in a rematch of their DREAM tournament bout. This fight ended in a no contest after Mayhem was cut by an inadvertent illegal blow. Hes tentatively slated to face Miller again at DREAM 11 in October, though that hasnt been addressed either by Strikeforce or DREAM parents FEG. With the two promotions recently agreeing to a working relationship that includes a talent exchange, theres a possibility the matchup could be contested on the October Strikeforce event.
Souza began training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at the age of 17 and fought MMA legend Randy The Natural Couture to a draw in a grappling contest in 2006. Shortly thereafter he began training at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. He has since returned to training in his homeland but will reportedly begin training with Couture again in the near future.
MMA fans are already anticipating several excellent potential matchups for Jacare in Strikeforce, most notably an almost inevitable showdown with another of the worlds top middleweights, Jake Shields. Also of great interest would be a catchweight matchup between Souza and Shields Cesar Gracie Jiu Jitsu teammate, Nick Diaz.