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Midnight Mania! Rafael dos Anjos won’t rule out Lightweight return, but he’s done chasing Islam Makhachev

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UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos v Fiziev Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

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Rafael dos Anjos appears to be entering a new stage of his career. For the last ten years, he’s faced nothing but top contenders, enduring a grueling schedule against elite opposition. He won the Lightweight championship, but since losing that crown, “RDA” has remained committed to hunting gold at either Welterweight or Lightweight.

His last result, a knockout loss to Rafael Fiziev, seemingly ended his quest for Lightweight gold. It’s a brutal cut for the 38 year old, and he’s since relocated back to Welterweight. He’s now scheduled to face Bryan Barberena this weekend at UFC Orlando, and while Barberena is a hard-nosed scrapper, it’s a definite step back compared to all of his recent ranked opposition.

Despite the apparent transition to 170-pounds, dos Anjos is actually willing to drop back to Lightweight for the right match up — even if chasing the belt is no longer on the table.

“Just for some specific fights I have in mind, I’d (drop to lightweight) again,” dos Anjos told reporters (via MMA Junkie). “I don’t have plans to win the title in that division anymore, I’ll be honest with you. A couple guys that if it’s in good momentum for me and my personal life as well, I’ll take the fight. As of now, I have Bryan Barberena this Saturday and I’m staying at welterweight.”

Notably, dos Anjos has quite a bit of history with current Lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev. Both men have been forced to withdraw from planned bouts with one another previously, and the result has been a fair bit of Twitter trash talk. When Makhachev failed to step up on short-notice against “RDA,” it nearly cost him his title shot!

Despite the past beef, dos Anjos is uninterested in chasing the champion. It sounds like the Brazilian has moved on!

“We were scheduled to fight a couple times, but I got injured (and) he pulled out on fight week, as well,” dos Anjos explained. “We had a chance to fight at welterweight. He threw his name out there. I accepted the fight. He didn’t take it and (Renato) Moicano took it. I wouldn’t be sad (if we don’t fight).”

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