In 2017, former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos will step in the Octagon at welterweight for the first time in his professional career after dropping back to back losses at 155 in 2016. Halfway through the year, dos Anjos stepped into the Octagon in hopes of defending his lightweight title for the second time as he faced Eddie Alvarez. Unfortunately for the champ, just minutes into the fight the referee was forced to intervene and stop the bout, as Alvarez was awarded the TKO win and the lightweight championship. In his next fight, RDA was looking to return to the win column as he fought streaking contender Tony Ferguson in a highly anticipated showdown. Ultimately, Ferguson picked dos Anjos apart over the course of 5 rounds, and was awarded the unanimous decision win.
Now, after announcing a move to welterweight, Rafael dos Anjos spoke to ESPN to discuss the brutal cut to 155:
“My coaches took me out of the bath and placed me on the bed,” Dos Anjos recalled. “I came back for a couple seconds and passed out again. I came back and passed out a third time. I was almost out for three minutes, they said. At one point, they said, ‘Let’s call 911 and cancel the fight.’ I woke up and asked them what was going on. And after all that, I still didn’t know if I had made the weight.”
“So I had to check my weight, but I couldn’t stand up. I lied down with a cold towel on my head. It took me about 40 minutes to get up. I checked my weight, and it said 155. If I hadn’t been on weight, there’s no way I could do any more. I couldn’t do it. On the walk to the weigh-ins, I was just feeling miserable.”
“I have a strong mind, so I was feeling ready to go,” Dos Anjos said. “One strange thing, though, my training partners noticed during warm-ups that I wasn’t sweating as much as usual. My body kind of shut down, and I wasn’t sweating.”
“When I got hit in the fight, it wasn’t like — I’ve gotten hit harder than that before — but I just lost my legs. It was weird. I want to give credit to Alvarez, but for sure, the weight cut affected me a little bit.”
While of course the weight-cut was the main concern, Rafael dos Anjos admits money did play a factor:
“I’m killing myself to make 155, and [without the championship] I’m not making much money,” Dos Anjos said. “I would make 155 pounds for a super fight or something, but for what I’m making today? No, it’s not worth making 155.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/26/2017.