Rafael dos Anjos Surprised at Being Overlooked for Title Shot, Hopes for Slot on UFC Card in Singapore

September 29, 2013
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Gleison Tibau and Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 139With title contenders frequently either dropping down to featherweight or getting injured, the UFC’s 155-pound division is an unpredictable place to be. Rafael dos Anjos has worked his way up to No. 6 in the official rankings with a five-fight winning streak, but the Brazilian still has no idea when, or if, he will get a shot at the belt.

He might have been forgiven for feeling his time had finally come when TJ Grant pulled out of a title match for the second time in quick succession, leaving newly crowned champion Anthony Pettis without an opponent at UFC on Fox 9.

Instead, he was overlooked in favor of Josh Thomson, who at No. 5 is ranked a place higher, but is 2-2 in his last four fights. dos Anjos admits to feeling disappointed by the decision.

“I was really surprised, but I’m going to keep training hard because I’m sure that my time is coming,” he told MMAWeekly.com.

The suspicion is that the UFC might be saving dos Anjos for its first card in Singapore, which is set for Marina Bay Sands on Jan. 4. He is a member of the fight team at nearby Evolve MMA and would likely attract a large contingent of local fans, which makes him an attractive option for matchmakers.

Despite not having a fight scheduled at present, dos Anjos is currently training at Evolve MMA and says he is hoping to get the call to compete in January.

“It would be very good to fight in Singapore and the show will be in January; it is a perfect date for me. Everyone here is already talking about the first-ever UFC show in Singapore.”

Having outpointed perennial 155-pound contender Donald Cerrone at UFC Fight Night 27 last month, dos Anjos is unlikely to be back in action before the end of the year unless another lightweight gets injured and there is another shuffle.

In the meantime, he is helping some of his teammates at Evolve MMA in Singapore prepare for future fights and says he is enjoying the opportunity to roll with arguably the most accomplished submission artist in his division.

“Me and Shinya (Aoki) have been training together. He is an amazing fighter and he has a very different style, so it’s been very good for me. I love to training in Singapore, Evolve is a perfect place to training because we have all the martial arts at the same place and the best in BJJ, Muay Thai and wrestling, and I’m happy to help my teammates who have fights coming up.”

dos Anjos says he was not surprised to see Anthony Pettis defeat Benson Henderson for the second time, but that he hadn’t been expecting him to win by submission. He believes he matches up well with the latest fighter to wear the 155-pound strap and hopes it is a fight that will happen sooner rather than later.

“I think it will be a good fight for the fans and for sure I will be in shape 120 percent and will do my best to have that belt. It is my dream and I think I’m pretty close, in my opinion one fight away from the title shot.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov did not do his title aspirations any harm either with a decision victory over Pat Healy at UFC 165 recently, which takes his record inside the Octagon to 5-0. He and dos Anjos are both coming off five-straight UFC wins and the Brazilian says it’s a fight he would be open to.

“I have never asked for an opponent. I always fight whoever the UFC ask me to fight and if they ask me to fight this fighter I will do it. I want to be the first Brazilian to win the lightweight title and I believe that dream is coming very close now.”

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    he vs khabib for 168!

    • TheCerealKiller

      Khabib takes him!

      • Maddawgmar

        Agreed Khabib will beat most, if not all of the top 10. He will be champ real soon. Also Rustam Khabilov will be a contender soon.

  • i got him ranked lower than thomson and i thought he lost to dunham so hold your horses dos anjos

    • Lucas Freire

      I too think he lost to Dunham. A win against Cerrone definitely puts him on the Top10, but not on the title contention picture.

  • Jay Mcgarrity

    Dos Anjos is squeaking by these guys who are scrapping the bottom of the top 10 and he wants a title shot? Four of his last 5 wins were decisions and at least a couple would’ve been losses if they were 5 round fights. Obviously that doesn’t mean everything because he trained for a 3 round fight but the guy almost always fades hard in the third. Work on conditioning and beat a top guy before you ask for title shots.

    • Advance*

      Okay…and Josh Thomson has 1 win since returning to the UFC. It’s not like he was coming in on a hot streak either. He lost his last fight in Strikeforce. You have all these reasons why Dos Anjos doesn’t deserve it but I’ll take 5 wins in a row (3 against pretty tough guys) over 1 win against Nate Diaz.

      • Jay Mcgarrity

        Yes, I had all of those reasons because I was simply stating that Dos Anjos isn’t ready and wouldn’t be able to hang. If you want to make it a contest between Thomson and Dos Anjos, Thomson would still get the shot and that’s why he is getting the shot.

        Thomson went 5 rounds with Gil and lost a split as opposed to Dos Anjos who can barely handle going 3 rounds. Thomson is the first guy to finish Nate Diaz since 2006 while Dos Anjos has had a hard time winning fights decisively let alone finishing people. If Thomson were to fight against Dos Anjos, Thomson would be the favorite and more than likely add an easy W to the record. Dos Anjos is a good fighter but he’s not ready for the top guys from what he’s shown. You must be a big fan of his to even make a crazy post backing up his crazy notion of somehow not only deserving a title shot but thinking he is ready for one.

        Lastly, it’s not all about win/loss ratio. Anyone can look up a guys stats and start chirping about win streaks and takedown defense percentages. The key to being accurate and knowing what you’re talking about is actually going back and looking at how those wins and losses were accumulated. When a guy wins the first round strong, edges out the second round, and gets dominated in the third round, people may question if this guy is ready for a title shot.

        • shakejunt

          drawn out, but yes.

  • Stefano ‘Zwonimir’ Sega Nogaro

    Pettis got the title shot at FW and LW beating Cerrone, RDA didn’t beated Cerrone so convincinglybut at least he’s one top 5-10 win away from title shot.
    Problem is that #1 contender list is staked: Thomson, Grant, even Khabib and Melendez need just 1-2 wins, maybe Aldo will move up.