Rafael dos Anjos said he's "not surprised at all" that so many lightweight contenders are taking notice and mentioning him as a possible opponent. Five-fight winning streaks have a way of doing that.
Dos Anjos (20-6 MMA, 9-4 UFC), currently ranked No. 12 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie.com MMA lightweight rankings, went 4-4 in his first eight UFC fights. Since then, though, the 29-year-old has racked up five straight victories, including recent ones over notables Evan Dunham and Donald Cerrone.
"Without a doubt, now I'll see more challenges, more people wanting to fight me, trying to break my streak," he told MMAjunkie.com.
Even former champion Benson Henderson recently said he's interested in fighting dos Anjos.
Did the catch the Brazilian off guard?
"No, I'm not surprised at all," dos Anjos said. "I'm on a five-fight win streak."
Dos Anjos, though, was encouraged by the news. After all, he said, Henderson was one of the names on his radar. He believes he could be a victory away from a title shot, so a few names really stick out to him as preferred opponents.
"Actually, Henderson is one of the names I was thinking about," he said. "I was thinking I should face T.J. Grant, Gilbert Melendez or Ben Henderson next. That's because I want to beat someone who will put me in a title shot."
Henderson (19-3 MMA, 7-1 UFC) recently snapped a seven-fight winning streak and lost his title to Anthony Pettis at UFC 164, but he won't get an immediate rematch since Pettis next fights Josh Thomson in December. Melendez (22-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC), a former Strikeforce champion, recently picked up his first UFC victory in a "Fight of the Night" performance against Diego Sanchez at UFC 166. And T.J. Grant (21-5 MMA, 8-3 UFC), who has a five-fight winning streak of his own, was promised a title shot before a concussion put him on the sidelines, and he awaits a next challenge.
All are attractive options to dos Anjos.
"I think I only need one more victory before a title shot if I face one of those three names," he said.