Recharged by difficult 2020, ‘old lion’ Ronaldo Souza ready to ‘kill’ at UFC 262

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HOUSTON – Ronaldo Souza understands how nature plays out. A lion is the king of the jungle until a younger, more dangerous lion comes along and puts an end to his reign.

However, Souza (26-9 MMA, 9-6 UFC) isn’t ready to be banished from his position of one of MMA’s most notable names quite yet.

Despite recent struggles, his goal remains the same, and he expects to fight at least a few more times in the UFC. Recharged after a difficult 2020, Souza enters his UFC 262 fight vs. Andre Muniz this Saturday at Toyota Center with an increased level of motivation.

“I have to say something,” Souza said at a pre-fight news conference Wednesday. “Sometimes, young lions kill old lions. But sometimes, they die trying. I want to kill this guy. I’m ready to win.”

Souza, 41, most recently competed at UFC 256 in December. The fight was his first in 13 months, a stretch in which three bookings fell through. When Souza finally stepped in the cage, he was knocked out by Kevin Holland in an unusual fashion. Holland, with his back on the canvas, swiped at Souza and recorded a vicious “Knockout of the Year” candidate in Round 1.

“It was horrible for me. Nobody expects that sh*t, but he did a great job and beat me (badly). I was bad after the fight, but I put my head up and continued to work,” Souza said. “… That was crazy and will never happen again. … The year was no good for me. I came off a bad loss, you know, a bad decision. I never lost three times in a row, even when I fought jiu-jitsu. It sounds crazy for me, but I put my head up and worked hard to win this fight.”

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Muniz (20-4 MMA, 2-0 UFC) perhaps doesn’t have the name recognition of the average “Jacare” opponent, but that doesn’t make him any less challenging of a task.

“He has a very good jiu-jitsu (game),” Souza said. “He’s a strong guy, a young guy and I know him because he’s from Brazil. He fought against good fighters that I know. When they gave me that fight, I just accepted because I’m not in a good position, but I’m still alive.”