Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos believes the timing is perfect for a showdown with Conor McGregor.
Dos Anjos was scheduled to defend the lightweight title against McGregor in 2016, but ultimately had to pull out of the contest with a foot injury. He was then replaced by Nate Diaz, and never had the opportunity for a rescheduled fight with the Irishman.
Dos Anjos believes the time has come to make another attempt at booking a fight with McGregor.
“The whole history,” dos Anjos told MMA Junkie, explaining why he thinks the time has come for a fight with McGregor. “I was the lightweight champion, he was coming up to challenge me and also, I got a lot of fights. That was the only one that I didn’t make it. That’s what I would like to have on my record, a fight with Conor. That’s why I tweeted out, ‘No more ifs.’ You see a lot of people say, ‘If that fight would’ve happened; If RDA won, If Conor won, what would’ve happened with Conor? If Conor had lost what would’ve happened?’ A lot of ifs. So it’s time to just put that thing on the table and let’s go. Let’s make this fight happen at any weight.”
McGregor recently announced his retirement from MMA. That being said, there’s a widespread skepticism that his retirement will last. After all, this is his third retirement in a four-year span.
You can safely group dos Anjos among the skeptics of the Irish star’s retirement.
“I don’t believe he’s retiring right now,” dos Anjos said. “That’s his third time retiring. I’m not buying that. I don’t think nobody is buying that. He’s too young and I believe he still has a lot in him. I don’t think he’s retiring right now.
“If you look at the whole situation, with me and Conor, I am ahead of him in the rankings at welterweight and this fight was supposed to happen four years ago and it didn’t happen. That would be a great fight. That’s the fight to make.”
Looking back, dos Anjos is very confident he would have beaten Conor McGregor, had they fought as planned in 2016.
“I have no doubts I would beat him,” dos Anjos said. “No doubts in my mind. I was feeling great in the sparring and training with big guys and was training with Lyoto Machida a lot, who has a very similar base to Conor. I was training really good with all those guys and I have no doubts in my mind. Unfortunately, 13 or 12 days before the fight, in one of my sparring I kicked the guy the wrong way and I told Lorenzo Fertitta, ‘Lorenzo, if I can’t kick I’m still going to fight. But I can’t walk. I can’t make it to the cage.’ I was forced to pull out, I was in a hard cast and a lot of people made jokes.
“Even Conor made jokes that I pulled out with a bruised foot, but it wasn’t the truth,” dos Anjos added. “If I had a bruised foot I would still fight. The kicks were part of my game for that fight, but I couldn’t make it to the cage, I couldn’t walk so that’s why I was forced to pull out.”
He’s hoping to have the opportunity to prove he’s better than McGregor in the near future.
“The story speaks by itself,” dos Anjos said. “The fight was there, we were scheduled to fight and it makes sense. We can make both divisions, and I think not only me, but a lot of people think that fight makes sense. I think now the ball is in the UFC’s court. It’s their move. I did my move already so let’s see what’s going to happen in the next couple weeks.”
Does a fight between Rafael dos Anjos and Conor McGregor interest you?