Rafael dos Anjos knocked out Ben Henderson back in August 2014 to announce himself as a legitimate contender in the UFC"s lightweight division. However, even with that inspired victory notched under his belt, few gave dos Anjos a chance when he challenged rising star Anthony Pettis for the title.
Now, several days removed from the five-round thrashing, dos Anjos believes he has convinced the majority of fans that he is an entirely changed fighter under the tutelage of Rafael Cordeiro. With the UFC belt now strapped around his waist, the Brazilian can finally relax and recuperate before considering his first title defence.
"I fought five times for the last 11 months," dos Anjos told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. "I had six camps, because I had one fight cancelled against Rustam Khabilov. I had six camps in 11 months. My body is bruised up," he said. "I never had so many injuries in my life, and for the last month I started feeling different injuries in my body. I just want to spend some time with my family. I don't want to think about fighting right now."
"I still have that loss against Khabib," he said. "Khabib has a tough fight, Cerrone is a tough opponent. I don't know how it's gonna be to come back from a bad injury and fight against him, but we'll see. If he beats Cerrone, okay, I'll fight. I don't have any preference. I'll be ready for anyone of them."
While he is not particularly ruffled about who is named No. 1 contender, he does hope to avenge his loss against the undefeated Dagestani in the near future. Prior to the four-fight win streak he compiled over the past year, dos Anjos had suffered a unanimous decision loss to Khaibib, and would now like the opportunity to show that he is a changed fighter.
"Yeah, I think so, because I lost to him and I would like to get it cleared," he agreed. "But it's another time now. Everything changed. The next fight will be a different fight."
Transcription taken from MMAFighting.com.