Spare a thought for Rafael Dos Anjos. The former UFC lightweight champion missed out on what would have likely been the biggest payday of his career when he injured his foot in advance of a defense of his 155-pound title against Conor McGregor a year ago. RDA’s injury sent the UFC scampering for a new opponent for McGregor, eventually settling in Nate Diaz who would go on to have two of the most bankable fights in the history of the UFC.
Dos Anjos, meanwhile, returned in July and was summarily knocked out by Eddie Alvarez in the first round of their clash and then dropped his next bout to Tony Ferguson in November. With the former lightweight kingpin staring down the barrel of two successive defeats in the UFC, Dos Anjos opted for a move north to the organisation’s welterweight frame and isn’t holding back as he looks for his debut fight at 170-pounds.
Speaking to MMAJunkie, RDA said that he doesn’t want a ‘tune-up’ fight and is ready for the likes of Robbie Lawler and Nick Diaz as his first dance partner at welterweight.
“I think Robbie Lawler is a good name and a fight that interests me”, Dos Anjos says. “Nick Diaz. I think I can beat these guys for sure. Those are some of the names on my mind right now. Welterweight is a different division, but I’m not fighting light at welterweight. Everything I want to do in my life, I want to be at the top. Now I’m at welterweight and I want to fight the best guys.
Dos Anjos hasn’t fought in his native Brazil since a 2013 (and his hometown of Rio de Janeiro in nearly ten years) win over Evan Dunham and says that he is targeting UFC 212, the event to be headlined by the clash between José Aldo and Max Holloway, for his return to the cage.
“I want to fight in Brazil. I just heard about the show with (Max) Holloway and (Jose) Aldo. My last fight in Rio was in 2007 and I would love to have a chance to fight in my hometown again.”