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Rafael dos Anjos: Islam Makhachev avoiding ‘a real challenge’ by fighting Alex Volkanovski

Rafael dos Anjos ‘can’t understand’ why Islam Makhachev is fighting Alexander Volkanovski.

Rafael dos Anjos ‘can’t understand’ why Islam Makhachev has agreed to fight Alexander Volkanovski in his first title defense, suggesting the newly-crowned UFC lightweight champion should take on a lightweight instead.

Dos Anjos never got around to fighting Makhachev at lightweight due to multiple fight cancellations from 2020-2022. As a former titleholder at lightweight, the Brazilian feels Makhachev should be defending his belt against a fellow 155er rather than the current featherweight champion.

Dos Anjos suggested Makhachev is avoiding a ‘real challenge’ by fighting Volkanovski despite the latter being the greatest pound-for-pound fighter on the planet and one of the best featherweight champions in UFC history.

“I think Islam will win that fight [against Volkanovski],” dos Anjos told reporters ahead of his submission win over Bryan Barberena at UFC Orlando (h/t BJPenn.com). “I think he could take somebody at lightweight, a real challenge. But these guys, I can’t understand them.”

Makhachev will take on Volkanvoski in a champ vs. champ superfight at UFC 284 on Feb. 12, 2023, at RAC Arena in Perth, Australia.