Rafael dos Anjos made a successful transition to Welterweight after taking out Tarec Saffiedine a few months ago after dropping back-to-back losses at Lightweight.
With newfound confidence, “RDA” says he can make a run at the title, and says that since he was the former Lightweight champion of the world, the path is shorter for him to get back to the big dance.
“Now, as an ex-champ, I think the path is shorter,” dos Anjos told MMAjunkie. “Demian (Maia) just had his shot at the belt and couldn’t get it. Tyron Woodley defended it. (Donald) Cerrone’s fight with (ex-champ) Robbie Lawler – I thought Cerrone won, but it was tough. In my opinion, Lawler wasn’t convincing, so I think that fight removed him from a possible title rematch. (Jorge) Masvidal lost to Demian,” said dos ANjos in his review of the 170-pound landscape.
“Stephen Thompson will probably fight Masvidal and had two title fights already. I’m behind in the rankings, but the path is kind of open. I think with a win over (Neil) Magny, considering I’m an ex-champ, I think I’m pretty close. I’m not too far.”
Rafael is expected to face Neil Magny at UFC 215 on September 9, 2017 in search of his second straight win. Currently ranked at No. 10, dos Anjos feels a win over Neil gets him closer to his goal. If and when he gets there, the Brazilian bomber is confident he can give current champion Tyron Woodley some fits.
“He has that game of circling around, of not wanting to take risks,” dos Anjos said. “With me, he’s going to be at risk. I won’t let him feel comfortable. I think in his past two fights, he wasn’t in jeopardy. Stephen Thompson fought very technically and strategically. Not that I won’t use strategy and technique, but I have this (stronger) pace.
“I’ll push the pace and he’ll have to go to work. I won’t let him circle around – he’ll take me down, I’ll take him down, the fight will be a scramble. I’ll push his pace. And I think that’s when I’ll get the better of him,” he added.
In fact, the former 155-pound champion says his fight against Woodley will deliver to the point that people will get excited about wanting to purchase Tyron’s future pay-per-view (PPV) cards.
“I think after my fight with him, people might even buy his pay-per-view,” he said with a laugh.
A dig at Dana White’s harsh criticism toward “The Chosen One’s” Lackluster performance against Demian Maia at UFC 214 last month.