As one of the top competitors in the lightweight division, Rafael dos Anjos' decision to take a fight against Nathan Diaz was a no-brainer for the Brazilian; he simply wanted to stay active and set himself up for a title shot with a decisive win over a veteran opponent.
"The main reason that I accepted this fight was because I wanted to fight close to the shot for the title fight," dos Anjos said at Wednesday's media scrum. "I wanted to be in shape around this time."
Given his gradual rise through the 155-pound ranks, dos Anjos is swelling with confidence and believes he has the necessary tools to give the division's champion, Anthony Pettis, a hard night.
"He's a really good fighter. He has good stand-up, a good submission game as well, so that's why he's champion. But I think I have weapons to beat him," dos Anjos said. "He's a tough fight, but I always see some holes in his game and I'm looking forward to working on [them]."
Just a few short months ago, dos Anjos knocked out former champion Benson Henderson in the opening round of their main event encounter. Having notched that staggering upset victory, the Brazilian has no doubt he can replicate his efforts against anyone else in the division, Pettis included.
"I'm always the underdog, I know that," dos Anjos said. "But I didn't surprise myself. When I got the opportunity to fight [Henderson], I knew I could beat him. And that's what I did."
Transcription taken from MMAFighting.com