Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos is aware that he does not have much time left to fight for the title again. Although ‘RDA’ believes he is a serious threat to current king Charles Oliveira, the Brazilian knows he still needs to go through Islam Makhachev to get into contention and cannot waste the opportunity.
In an interview with Ag Fight, Rafael displayed a rather down to earth point of view while analyzing his career, knowing that his days of fighting for the title are close to the end. Nevertheless, the Brazilian claims to still be in top shape for his challenge against Makhachev, which he hopes to be a title eliminator.
“This is my last shot,” dos Anjos said. “I have to be realist. I’m not close to retiring. I feel fine, training goes well and I have no joint injuries. I have 43 fights and I only lost one by knockout. I don’t get knocked out during training, I have good defense, my chin is good. I still have a lot of time left in my career. But I know that this change (moving to Brazil to train at Nova Uniao) is all about fighting for the title. I’m betting my chips that it’s going to work. My focus is to be the champion. This Makhachev fight, because of his hype and me being a former champion who’s coming off a win in his return to the divison, it has title eliminator written all over it.
“Charles is in a good moment of his career,” Rafael continued. “The cool thing about his career is all the ups and downs he went through. That’s how champions are made. This is his moment, he’s the champion. But when I look at the rankings, I’m the trickiest guy for him to face. Because of my striking level, my jiu-jitsu and my pace. My focus is on Makhachev, but if I have a good win, which I know I will because this fight is not going the distance, I’ll be ready to see who’s the best Brazilian lightweight of all time.”
In his last outing, Rafael (30-13) returned to the lightweight division with a split decision win over Paul Felder, in November 2020. The victory snapped a two-fight skid for the 36-year-old at welterweight, where he dropped unanimous decisions to both Michael Chiesa and Leon Edwards.
Now, RDA is set to take on Makhachev at UFC 267, on October 30, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The card is set to be headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between the champion, Jan Blachowicz, and challenger Glover Teixeira, and is the first Numbered Card since 2016 to NOT be a pay-per-view.