When looking strictly at his work in MMA, there’s a lot to like about Bruno Souza. The 25-year-old is currently on a nine-fight winning streak and will challenge for the LFA Featherweight Championship on Friday night. He’s got strong support, whether it be teammates like Bellator fighter Weber Almeida or Lyoto and Chinzo Machida of the Machida Academy.
But there’s more to Souza than his work inside the cage.
As a self-described “joker,” Souza loves to make people laugh. That becomes indisputably true when scrolling through his Instagram, which has lots of comedy skits or simple memes placed between more serious content promoting fights or sponsors.
One day, he’ll upload a self defense demonstration which is actually tricking people into dancing like Rick Astley in the “Never Gonna Give You Up” music video. Another day, he’s likening Mondays to a demonstrational video where he nearly eats a spinning back kick – or, he even compares the beginning of the week to him eating a punch during a fight.
Other times he could be making his own rendition of TikTok trends. Most recently he responded to the “you don’t look like a fighter” prompt with proof that he is, in fact, a fighter.
Souza’s personality is on full display online. This openness is something he feels many fighters need to embrace more.
“We have so many other personalities that the fighters do not show,” said Souza in an interview with MMA-Prospects.
He thinks that many put fighters into two groups, pure martial artists or “bad guys.” However, he claims there’s a much larger spectrum to embrace, citing musicians and comedians as examples.
Souza likes to joke around, although he doesn’t want that to be mixed up with the “bad guy” persona that he feels many get labelled with.
“I can play with my opponent without being a trash talker,” he said.
While he loves to joke, the past week or so has been more intense for Souza. As a training camp and weight cut have put him in “low battery mode,” he credits recent videos on Instagram to his wife, who often motivates him or brainstorms ideas for videos.
Souza has the biggest test of his career ahead of him. On Friday he will fight Javier Garcia in what could be a five-round fight. Souza wasn’t originally set to face Garcia, as he was first set to take on “Dana White’s Contender Series” and Bellator alum Canaan Kawaihae, but he nonetheless is a fan of this new matchup.
“I really like this matchup. He’s a good guy, tough guy,” said Souza. “He can strike, he can grapple. Pretty complete. I know he deserves it. He’s been fighting in LFA [on a] two streak win.”
Souza predicts that their toughness will cause the fight to go into the fourth or fifth round before a finish will happen.
As for the future, while it looks bright for Souza, he’s not focused on it until after the fight. When asked about what’s next, he simply doesn’t have an answer yet: “I’m not thinking of that right now .. Right now, I want to be a world champion.”
A win on Friday could set Souza up for a spot in promotions like Bellator, PFL or UFC – at least that’s the precedent set by dozens of former LFA champs. But nothing is guaranteed in the world of MMA until it actually happens, and Souza has a fight ahead of him to focus on.
What’s for certain, however, is that after the fight he’ll be back to training and trying to get a laugh out of his growing audience online.