UFC middleweight contender David Branch is making it clear who he wants to fight in his next trip into the octagon.
Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza.
Although Branch (22-4) has accepted an offer to fight Souza (25-6) at UFC Fight Night in September, Souza has informed the UFC he’s not interested.
Branch isn’t too thrilled about Souza’s decision.
“Whether I get the fight or not, people need to understand and see this,” Branch said, according to ESPN. “This is part of your legacy and who you are. If a fighter has a dead right to fight you, you take it. Thiago Santos was on a four-knockout streak. There was nothing I could have said to dispute the fact he earned the opportunity to break into the top 10.
“I would not have been a real fighter if I had declined that fight. I would have been a chicken—- and the UFC would have probably cut my ass, rightfully so. You know what I’m saying? Real fighters fight each other.”
Gilberto Faria, Souza’s manager, confirmed the camp’s decision to decline the fight.
“Every fight Jacare has taken so far, his opponent has been ranked lower than him. We are looking to fight someone ahead,” Faria said. “Jacare gave a rematch to Derek Brunson [earlier this year], who he beat before. Jacare has never gotten the opportunity of a rematch.
“Rockhold, Romero, Whittaker, Gastelum — those were all great fights. Why not a rematch? Also, Chris Weidman would be a great match, which people have wanted to see. This time we’ve decided to sit and wait.”
Branch denies any assertions that he is trying to jump the line to fight Souza, but states that he is just asking for what he feels he deserves.
“I was asked to fight him two times before, but they were short notice and didn’t make sense as a professional athlete. Right now, we both have the opportunity to train and it makes perfect sense.
“If I can’t get this fight, then I’ll look for something else — but for me, in my career, almost 37 years old, fighting MMA for 11 damn years, it makes sense. Why do I need to argue for this? I’m a dedicated athlete and I want the fights that will reward me.”