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Rafael dos Anjos recalls funny run-in with Nate Diaz after UFC 196: ‘I look at him and he starts sizing me up’

The run-in happened days after Diaz submitted Conor McGregor at UFC 196. 

Rafael Dos Anjos during open workouts in 2019.
Rafael Dos Anjos during open workouts in 2019.
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Rafael dos Anjos and Nate Diaz fought each other at UFC on FOX: Dos Santos vs. Miocic nearly seven years ago, when the former defeated the latter by way of unanimous decision. They met again almost two years later, but not inside of the Octagon as one would expect.

Dos Anjos and Diaz had a brief, yet funny run-in at the hot bar of a Whole Foods in Santa Monica just days after the Stockton native submitted Conor McGregor via second-round rear-naked choke at UFC 196 in Las Vegas. The fight with McGregor was supposed to be dos Anjos’, but the then-lightweight champion was forced to withdraw from it after breaking his foot during a training session at Kings MMA.

Diaz was then tapped as the short-notice replacement for dos Anjos. The new fight between him and McGregor made sense considering the infamous promo he cut after besting Michael Johnson in his return at UFC on FOX: Dos Anjos vs. Cowboy 2. The rest, as they say, was history and Diaz went on to earn the biggest win of his storied professional career over McGregor, who had never suffered a defeat under the UFC banner before then. Fast forward about two days after that, and Diaz was now standing no more than a few feet away from dos Anjos at a local supermarket.

Dos Anjos recalled the moment in his recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani and admitted he was ready to fight Diaz if their intense staredown would have escalated. That did not happen and both men exchanged some niceties before going their separate ways.

“I was coming out of the doctor,” said dos Anjos. “Right after the fight, I was coming out of the doctor to do something like a check-up and then I was hungry. I was in LA and — I’ve never told this story to nobody, only to close friends. So I was hungry driving back home and then I put on Google some Whole Foods around me and then I found some Whole Foods and went there to grab a bite. It was me and my wife. Then I had a little cart that you put your knee and then you start sliding, like a little scooter…and guess who was at the hot bar getting food? Nate Diaz.

“I look at him and he starts sizing me up,” continued dos Anjos. “I looked at him and it looks like he was going to fight me with a broken foot…my wife was so afraid because she was near me and she said, ‘I saw your hair doing that (pointing up) like a dog ready to fight’. I was really ready to fight. He said something like ‘get better’ or something like that. I couldn’t hear well but I said, ‘Okay, congratulations on your fight’ and he walked away.”

Though dos Anjos and Diaz have gone on very different career paths since then, the Brazilian has expressed interest in a potential rematch. He promised not to use leg kicks this time around, but nothing came to fruition after his proposal was made.

Dos Anjos recently returned to the win column with a split decision win over Paul Felder at UFC Vegas 14, while Diaz suffered a loss to Leon Edwards at UFC 263 this past June.