Rafael dos Anjos forced to withdraw from UFC 254 fight against Islam Makhachev

Rafael dos Anjos
Image: @ufc on Instagram

Rafael dos Anjos will not be returning to lightweight to take on Islam Makhachev after all.

Dos Anjos has been competing at welterweight for the last couple of years but at UFC 254 he was expected to return to 155lbs. Yet, the former champion took to social media to announce he is out of the fight due to him testing positive for COVID-19.

“Life is like those things that we don’t understand now but that will be revealed in the future. I left the comfort zone in the United States to come to Rio de Janeiro and restart my career,” Rafael dos Anjos wrote in his statement. “The stay was the best possible feeling the warmth of my wonderful city, breathing the smell that only the ocean here has, and sharing the joy of the priceless smiles of my people even hidden behind the masks. Being able to be taken care of by the health professionals who are the best in the world and who I trust with my eyes closed. Experiencing the training with the best coaches and other professionals who struggle every day to achieve their dreams.

“I came to rescue my dream of becoming a champion again and that goal was achieved. Sharing my experiences with the Nova Uniao Team and learning many details to improve my game and close the caps. In the future, none of this was in vain. Unfortunately, I will not be able to compete on the 24th. COVID-19 caught me big time and the doctors cut me out. But soon I will be back victorious inside the Octagon! Nothing can take away from the blessing that is upon us. God will provide,” dos Anjos wrote.

Rafael dos Anjos is coming off a decision loss to Michael Chiesa in January. Before that, he lost to Leon Edwards after beating Kevin Lee.

It is currently unknown if the UFC will search for a replacement to fight Islam Makhachev at UFC 254.

Who would you like to see Rafael dos Anjos fight when he is able to return?