Rafael dos Anjos may be coming off a couple of tough losses, and is about to fight for the 40th time, but the 34-year-old sounds pretty, pretty motivated to climb back to the top.
Dos Anjos is preparing to face Kevin Lee this Saturday, in a welterweight contest that will serve as the headliner for UFC Rochester. The fight will mark the first time dos Anjos has fought since he dropped a decision loss to now current champ, Kamaru Usman in November. Prior to that bout, dos Anjos faced Colby Covington for the interim 170 belt last June, and also lost that fight via UD.
Well, due to those defeats, some observers have probably written RDA off as a championship contender in the welterweight division. Further, since dos Anjos is about to face another noted wrestler and grappler in Lee, some folks are predicting RDA’s losing streak will be extended to three.
But, while talking to the media recently about this Saturday’s bout, and his recent setbacks, RDA said this (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“Fighters got to be active. I don’t have any injury, nothing to hold me back. I want to be active. I want to fight. I know he’s a tough guy and good wrestler and good jiu-jitsu and very good, well-rounded fighter, but I don’t think he’s going to have the size advantage on this fight. It’ll be fun. It’ll be a good fight.”
“That’s where the hunger comes from, is climbing back,” dos Anjos said. “I want to get back and that’s what I’m looking for. I got a seven-month-old baby at home. I don’t come from a wealthy family and I’ve got to make things work out for my family, I’ve got to provide for the family and I’m the only one. I got to make it work. I’m not in a good situation right now coming off two losses back-to-back, but I know I’m capable to turn things around.”
Even if you’re not a big dos Anjos fan for some reason, you have to admit these comments are pretty admirable. The veteran fighter could have decided to take some more time off and not face someone like Lee, who as noted above, seems to be the type of fighter who will give RDA issues.
Further, dos Anjos is right in that he has turned things around before. After he lost the 155 belt to Eddie Alvarez in 2016, dos Anjos was also defeated by Tony Ferguson in his next outing. RDA moved to 170, and proceeded to win three in a row. That run included a ridiculously, impressive decision win over former champ, Robbie Lawler.