Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza is wrecking shop under the UFC banner.
The former Strikeforce middleweight champion has steamrolled the first two opponents he's faced inside the Octagon and is quickly working his way toward a championship opportunity.
The 33-year-old Brazilian has found victory in his last five showings and brought his running total to nine out of 10 since 2009.
While the jiu-jitsu ace has been turning heads in the middleweight division, his most impressive outing by far came last week in Belo Horizonte where he drubbed former title challenger Yushin Okami in the co-main event of Fight Night 28.
Despite being known for his grappling prowess, Souza used his striking to crumble the hard-nosed veteran in route to a first-round knockout.
The victory over Okami put the rest of the 185-pound collective on notice, and on Wednesday night's showing of UFC Tonight on Fox Sports 1 it was announced that the surging contender wants the winner of the upcoming tilt between Michael Bisping and Mark Munoz to be his next opponent.
The Brash Brit and the Team Reign leader will square off in the main event of Fight Night 30 on Oct. 26, and Souza wants a piece of whichever fighter emerges victorious.
With the majority of top middleweights currently locked up with scheduled bouts, the decision to focus on the winner of that particular matchup is an interesting choice for the grappling monster turned power striker.
"The Count" is only one victory removed from his knockout loss to Vitor Belfort at UFC on FX 7 in January, where Munoz recently stopped his backslide against Tim Boetsch at UFC 160 in May.
Despite Souza having more momentum in the win column than Bisping or Munoz, he lags behind both in the name recognition category. While making vocal bids for title shots has become the norm over the past several years, it appears Souza is willing to take the workman's route.
By setting his sights on the winner of Bisping versus Munoz, Souza has made it clear he's willing to battle his way up to title contention.
And with his lights out ground game and much improved striking skill set, the X-Gym fighter is turning into a force to be reckoned with.
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