Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos is set to return to welterweight tonight, but he’s not leaving 155 pounds without a parting shot at the division’s elite.
Having come to the conclusion that he’d completed his final attempt at returning to the top of the mountain at the weight he once ruled, dos Anjos announced his intention to focus on nothing but fun fights moving forward.
And fun is exactly what many are expecting when “RDA” meets 170-pound brawler Bryan Barberena in the UFC Orlando co-main event tonight. With “Bam Bam” collecting two Fight of the Night bonuses in his last two outings, the Brazilian has certainly had his wish granted.
Ahead of his return to welterweight, where he previously defeated the likes of Robbie Lawler and Neil Magny before falling short of interim gold against Colby Covington, dos Anjos discussed his decision to depart the lower weight class, citing the ‘politics’ that the likes of Beneil Dariush have brought up in the past.
dos Anjos: “Nobody Wants To Fight Fiziev”
During UFC Orlando media day on Wednesday, dos Anjos reiterated that he felt as though his final run at regaining the lightweight strap came to a halt when rising contender Rafael Fiziev stopped him at UFC Vegas 58.
According to the Brazilian, his fight against “Ataman,” which was rebooked having originally fallen through earlier this year, came about because no one else was willing to share the Octagon with the surging Kazakh-born Azerbaijani.
With that in mind, dos Anjos criticized what he described as the “top-five club,” whom he accused of refusing to accept challenges from outside their group.
“I had my last loss against Fiziev. I had my last final run in that division,” dos Anjos said. “I was scheduled to fight Fiziev in February… They put that matchup with Fiziev in July again because nobody wants to fight Fiziev. I was the only guy that accepted.
“Man, because of these rankings, the top-five little club, they just wanna fight between them. Then I had to take the fight with Fiziev again,” dos Anjos added. “I lost the fight and said, ‘Hey man, you can take me out the rankings, I’ll fight at welterweight.'”
Having left the lightweight scene in his rear-view mirror, dos Anjos will look to return to the win column at the first time of asking in the welterweight division.
And with entertainment and enjoyment at the forefront of his mind, the Brazilian will be looking to add to his tally of seven post-fight bonuses, starting in Orlando later tonight.
What do you make of the current situation at the top of the lightweight division? Are you surprised by Rafael dos Anjos’ claim?
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