They say a loss sometimes makes you stronger.
That's certainly the case for Rafael dos Anjos, as the Brazilian bomber has been a man on a mission since coming up short against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC on FOX 11 in April of 2014. Though the loss snapped his five-fight win streak, it served as motivation to begin another.
And that's just what "RDA" did, racking up three impressive wins and earning himself a shot at the division title. It all culminated with perhaps the best performance of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career, outclassing former champ Anthony Pettis for five rounds at UFC 185 on March 14, 2015 to capture the lightweight title (video).
As for Khabib, the last time he competed was against dos Anjos, as injury has kept him sidelined for the last year. But, the two men could be seeing each other inside the cage pretty soon. And if and when that day comes, dos Anjos is more than confident the results will be completely different.
"I still have that loss against Khabib. He has a tough fight, Cerrone is a tough opponent. I don't know how it's gonna be to come back from a bad injury and fight against him, but we'll see. If he beats Cerrone, okay, I'll fight. I don't have any preference. I'll be ready for anyone of them. Yeah, I think so (a fight against Khabib would be more interesting), because I lost to him and I would like to get it cleared. But it's another time now. Everything changed. The next fight will be a different fight."
Of course, Khabib must first get through another streaking lightweight, as he is set to face off against Donald Cerrone at UFC 187 on May 23, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada (details).
The ironic part about that matchup, "Cowboy's" last loss before going on an impressive seven-fight win streak was to none other than "RDA" himself.
On that note, it's safe to say that the next few title fights in the lightweight division are not only going to be highly-competitive, but are more than likely to be rematches as well.