Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight contender Rafael dos Anjos has been on a Russian roller coaster.
When he first agreed to compete at the upcoming UFC 170 event on Feb. 22 in Las Vegas, Nevada, he thought he was fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov, the undefeated lightweight contender who was complaining on Twitter that no one wanted to fight him.
Turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.
As luck would have it, the opponent he was originally scheduled to face, Rustam Khabilov, was forced to withdraw due to injury and the promotion went ahead and replaced him with Nurmagomedov, in a 155-pound contest re-booked for the UFC on FOX 11 event on April 19 in Orlando, Florida.
And Dos Anjos tells AG Fight (via MSN Esportes) he's out for justice.
"I will come very well prepared and be sure to bring this victory. I'll make this Khabib stop this talking that nobody wants to fight him, he is a guy who has been talking a lot. I'm going to shut up him so he learns not to speak ill of jiu-jitsu. I will make him throw that shirt in the trash."
Dos Anjos (20-6) has eight wins by submission, while Nurmagomedov (21-0) has seven.
"The Eagle" took a shot at the sport of jiu-jitsu during the UFC on FX 7 weigh ins (video), wearing a shirt that read, "If Sambo was easy, it would be called jiu-jitsu." Unfortunately for the pissed-off Brazilian crowd, he followed that up with a technical knockout win over Thiago Tavares the following night.
But what's at stake here is more than just grappling bragging rights. With the 155-pound division quickly running out of viable contenders, one of these two men could be in line for a crack at the crown with a big performance in April. Will Dos Anjos being taking out the trash? Or will Nurmagomedov make him look like garbage?