Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos knows he has to defeat Paul Felder this weekend at UFC Vegas 14 before moving on to bigger and better things, but the 36-year-old also still believes he has unfinished business left to settle with UFC superstar Conor McGregor.
“We got close twice,” Dos Anjos said per MMA Fighting. “I think that’s the fight that a lot of fans want to see, especially with me returning to lightweight. We were scheduled to fight, and unfortunately, it’s a combat sport. I broke my foot, but here I am again, training hard, working hard and I can’t wait.”
Dos Anjos was supposed to fight McGregor back in 2016 when the Brazilian was still the UFC’s lightweight champion, but his broken foot derailed the fight.
The fight seemed to be on its way again two years later but never actually materialized.
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UFC Vegas 14: dos Anjos vs. Felder on November 14
Dos Anjos vs. Felder takes place on Saturday at UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Felder, 36, took the fight on just five days’ notice after rising star Islam Makhachev pulled out of the contest earlier this week.
But that stunning development might actually turn out to be better for dos Anjos if the former champ hopes to use his next fight as a springboard toward landing his desired megafight against McGregor or another one of the UFC’s lightweight stars.
Felder is ranked No. 7 in the lightweight division, so beating “The Irish Dragon” would put dos Anjos right back in the thick of things at 155 pounds.
“I’m going to have my hand raised on Nov. 14 and then shoot for the title,” dos Anjos said per MMA Fighting.
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Why Ex-Champ Believes Fight vs. McGregor Still Might Happen
For dos Anjos, the McGregor fight still makes sense because both stars are ex-champs at 155 pounds.
With UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov announcing his retirement from the sport last month, dos Anjos believes it makes sense for the UFC to pit the division’s two former champs against each other to crown the new king of 155 pounds.
“Tony Ferguson was interim champion, Dustin Poirier, interim champion. Justin Gaethje, interim champion,” dos Anjos said per MMA Fighting. “The only [undisputed] champions in that division was me and Conor, and I think that’s the fight to make.”
So dos Anjos plans to beat Felder this weekend, and the Brazilian legend hopes McGregor does the same against Poirier in his next fight on January 23.
“I think the division is wide open, so why not? I want that fight,” dos Anjos said per MMA Fighting.
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