Rafael dos Anjos was hit with a whirlwind of possible opponents leading up to his fight at UFC 272 this past weekend (Sat., March 5, 2022).
After losing out on his match up with Rafael Fiziev because of a positive COVID-19 test, dos Anjos had several UFC Lightweights requesting to fill in. The most intriguing of the names was an opponent dos Anjos was supposed to have fought by now, Islam Makhachev.
“I heard he asked for like $1 million or something to take the fight. But, no other explanation,” dos Anjos told The MMA Hour regarding Makhachev.
“It feels great [that he has to fight Beneil Dariush still]. I even texted Beneil [and said] now I got your fight back. That’s the price he pays for playing these little games. He had his title shot secured now he’s gotta fight another one.”
dos Anjos and Makhachev have been scheduled to compete opposite each other on three separate occasions with a new issue preventing it each time. With dos Anjos last competing in Nov. 2020 in a split decision against Paul Felder, a fight that was on short notice due to Makhachev’s withdrawal, the Brazilian former champion just wanted to get active again.
“You guys heard what Dana said. Islam didn’t take the fight,” dos Anjos said. “I said 165 [pounds] like Bobby Green with him was ‘60, right? Then he said 170 and then they called me like, ‘Hey, Islam wants to go at 170.’ I said, okay, I’ll go 170, no problem. And I even showed the picture of my scale here. After training, I was 171. They did a video, they sent it to Sean Shelby, that’s when they took the fight.
“The next morning, ‘Oh, no, no. We’re not taking the fight,’” he continued. “I think it was that he tried to call [my] bluff. That’s what it was. They probably thought that ‘RDA’ would never take this fight at 170. But you know what, I was training, I didn’t want to waste a whole fight camp, hadn’t fought for 16 months, I just wanted to go in there and fight someone.”
In UFC 272’s co-main event, dos Anjos defeated Moicano via unanimous decision. As for Makhachev, he earned a win the weekend prior, pounding out Bobby Green in the first round of UFC Vegas 49’s main event (watch highlights). Beneil Dariush was his original opponent.