Active Ex-Champ Challenges UFC To Put Him in Epic Battle of the Veterans

UFC, Rafael dos Anjos

Getty Nate Diaz (R) punches Rafael dos Anjos in their lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event.

Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos has challenged the promotion to pair him up with another veteran.

Dos Anjos is coming off a hard-fought loss to fellow top-ranked contender Rafael Fiziev in his latest outing in July at UFC Vegas 58. He went into the bout on a two-fight win streak after beating Paul Felder and earning a dominant win over Renato “Moicano” Carneiro in March at UFC 272. Although dos Anjos succumbed to a deadly punch from Fiziev in the opening seconds of the final round, he kept it competitive for as long as the fight went on.

Having started his professional career in 2004, the 37-year-old Brazilian is in the final stages of his professional career. It appears that dos Anjos has moved on from his title ambitions and is targeting a showdown with other grizzled veterans.

On Aug. 25, dos Anjos called for the UFC to pit him against the likes of Jorge Masvidal and Tony Ferguson, tweeting, “I had my last title run…and now it is time to fight people that motivates me to wake up and train. I have almost eight hours of octagon time…get me a veteran for a change! I would love to fight guys like Jim Miller, Jorge Masvidal or get my rematch with Tony Fergunson or Guida.”

Fiziev Expressed the Difficulty in Beating Dos Anjos

A win over dos Anjos stands out the most on Fiziev’s record. “Ataman,” a prolific striker, endured over 20 minutes inside the octagon against the well-rounded mixed martial artist. It was also the first time “Ataman” got booked for the main event, presenting him with his maiden five-round bout.

Fiziev passed the test with flying colors and expressed how challenging the match was. The Tiger May Thai coach proved he is ready for the highest level of the game, defending 14 out of 16 attempted takedowns from dos Anjos.

At the post-fight press conference, Fiziev shared his thoughts on the biggest win of his career.

“It’s a big difference, but yeah, I’m tired,” Fiziev said via MMA Junkie. “I’m tired so much in the fight, but I make a finish in Round 5. This means something. Like I can fight five rounds.”

“My wrestling is not so bad like everyone thinks,” he added. “Because my wrestling, I make it every day. If somebody takes me down, I’m ready to stand up. He takes me down again, I’m ready to stand up again.”

Dos Anjos Claimed Something Was Off in the Khabib Nurmagomedov Fight

Dos Anjos faced the undefeated former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in Apr. 2014. RDA did not have the best performance in the bout, and Khabib beat him with a unanimous decision.

In an appearance on the “Nem Me Viu” podcast, dos Anjos reported that he suffered a freak injury that kept him back from giving his best effort.

“In that fight [vs. Khabib] specifically, I was training with Benny in the cage, just us sparring,” dos Anjos said. (h/t Brazilian MMA Legends). “When we got close to the cage, my ear got stuck in the cage, I got 14 stitches behind the ear. I went to the hospital with a loose ear… This happened around 3 months before the fight… Until I got home, recovered and regained the confidence to train grappling, it took 4 to 6 weeks.

“I didn’t do grappling training for that fight… I did more like a Muay Thai training, striking training, to fight the best grappler in UFC history… 40 days after that fight, I fought again. In other words, he didn’t hurt me at all… If I had trained well, better grappling and all, I would have been able to do better…”