Rafael dos Anjos has tasted what it feels like to be champion, and the Brazilian believes he has what it takes to re-stake his claim as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Dos Anjos, the former UFC lightweight champ, snapped a two-fight losing skid this past Saturday at UFC Rochester, and the 34-year-old is now firmly back on the road to title contention.
The top-three welterweight contender beat former lightweight title challenger Kevin Lee in the main event, submitting ‘The Motown Phenom’ with an arm-triangle choke in fourth round.
And, speaking to the media on ESPN+10’’s post-fight show, RDA said he is more determined than ever capture the UFC welterweight title, claiming that he would retire if he felt he no longer had the desire to be champion.
“My debut in the UFC, I lost two in a row,” dos Anjos said, per MMA Fighting’s Alexander K. Lee. “Before I moved up a division, I lost two in a row, and I’m not gonna lie to you guys. I was under a lot of pressure. But it’s good to be back in the winning path.
“Kevin, he’s a tough guy, but he wasn’t ranked. He came up a division now and I think that was a good fight to put me on the winning path. I see the interim champion will fight the champion right now, probably. I’m just open. I’m not sticking too much with the rankings right now, but I have this desire in me.
“I want to be champion one day and if I don’t believe that I’m not gonna be a champion, I’m gonna stop fighting. I’m gonna quit this sport. I still believe I can make it and I’m going to work. I’m working hard on it.”
Dos Anjos still very much has the skill set and experience to contend for the title, holding wins over the likes of Robbie Lawler, Donald Cerrone, and Anthony Pettis, and only losing to the creme de la creme of his respective divisions. The UFC veteran is likely to face the winner of Ben Askren vs. Jorge Masvidal in his next bout.