Rafael dos Anjos is closing the door on lightweight—for now.
The former UFC champion has spent most of his career down at 155 lbs, but decided to return to welterweight for his next appearance. Following his fifth-round KO loss to Rafael Fiziev at UFC Vegas 58 this past July, RDA concluded that a chance at another championship opportunity was slim to none, so he shifted his focus to fights that would ‘motivate’ him. And his upcoming opponent—Bryan Barberena—does exactly that.
“I’m happy with that matchup,” said Dos Anjos at his pre-fight press conference. “He’s coming in on a [three-fight] winning streak. He’s a guy that fights forward. He’s the type of fight that I like. Being three rounds, I think of my last eight fights, seven of them were five rounds, if I’m not wrong. It was good, a little break, too, fighting three rounds. Preparation is a little easier, too. I’m happy with that matchup.”
For the next phase of his career, Dos Anjos appears content with his decision to move up from lightweight to welterweight permanently. That said, there are still some fights that the Brazilian would drop down for, should they become available.
“Just for some very specific fights that I have in mind, I would [drop down to lightweight] again,” said Dos Anjos. “But I don’t have plans to win the title in that division anymore, I’ll be honest with you. A couple of guys that if it’s in a good momentum for me, in my personal life as well, I’ll take the fight.
“As of now, I have Bryan Barberena this Saturday and I’m staying at welterweight,” continued Dos Anjos.
A fight that comes to mind for Dos Anjos was against Islam Makhachev, the newly crowned UFC lightweight champion. The two men were scheduled to fight thrice at UFC 254, UFC Vegas 14, and UFC 267, but each time the bout canceled.
Despite missing out on Makhachev, the Nova União product is fine with never standing across the Octagon from the AKA star.
“We were scheduled to fight a couple of times, but I got injured,” said Dos Anjos. “He pulled out on fight week, as well. We had a chance to fight at welterweight. He threw his name out there. I accepted the fight, he didn’t take it [and] Renato Moicano took it. But I wouldn’t be sad [if we never fought].”
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