Once upon a time, fighters were offered an opponent, they’d typically accept the fight without incident, and that would be the extent of the UFC matchmaking process. But in the modern era, whether the promotion gets a thumbs up or thumbs down for a fight often depends on if the fighter believes the proposed bout is worth their while and if the reward outweighs the risks. Rafael dos Anjos is from the old school. So when he was offered to face a man eight spots beneath him in the rankings, he only considered the rewards (Transcript via Cageside Press):
“I told myself, I’m’ not going to be too attached to the rankings right now,” Dos Anjos said. “So many crazy things going on. I can’t sit on my couch waiting for the perfect fight.
“When I had my run for the lightweight title, I fought five times in eleven months,” he recalled. “Back then, there was no rankings. I had to fight anybody that the UFC gave to me. So if I’m not on a run right now, I gotta do the same. A victory is a victory. Edwards is a tough guy, man. He’s coming on a seven-fight win streak, but I’m looking forward to end that win streak.”
This isn’t the first time dos Anjos has fought an opponent far beneath him in the rankings. In fact, in his most recent bout, he fought unranked welterweight Kevin Lee in the main event of UFC Rochester. And had he sat around instead of taking and winning that bout, dos Anjos wouldn’t be in a position to build a winning streak of his own, which he will look to do tonight at UFC San Antonio while bringing Edwards’ streak to a close.
Do you believe Rafael dos Anjos is right to not care about rankings when accepting fights?