Rafael dos Anjos calls out TJ Grant, hopes for fight in early 2014

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Rafael dos Anjos hopes to meet TJ Grant when he returns to the Octagon in 2014.

Following a unanimous-decision victory over Donald Cerrone, the Brazilian lightweight believes a win over Grant would put him closer to a shot at UFC gold.

"One more win and I should fight for the title," dos Anjos told MMAFighting.com. "I won my last five fights. I’m in the UFC for five years, so I deserve a shot at the title after my next win."

Grant is still recovering from a concussion, which first caused him to pull out of an Aug. 31 title shot against then-champion Ben Henderson, then forced him out of a Dec. 14 bout with new champion Anthony Pettis. Dos Anjos thinks he already lost the right to fight for the title.

"T.J. had two title shots and got injured twice," he said. "I think it’s too little for him now, I believe it would be fair if he has to do another fight first, and a fight against me makes sense. It would be a good fight, and I would be one step closer to the title.

"I had some little injures to heal so I didn’t train too much recently," he continued. "I’m training harder now, but they didn’t say anything about my next fight yet. I believe my next fight will be between January and February."

If dos Anjos’ plans works as he expects, he would get a shot at the gold against the winner of Anthony Pettis vs. Josh Thomson, who meet at UFC on FOX 9.

"I don’t know much about Josh Thomson, but Anthony Pettis is the favorite," he said. "He’s younger, is doing great in his last fights. I’d bet on Pettis."

Rafael dos Anjos is 9-4 under the UFC banner, but hasn’t lost since Nov. 2011. Looking to add the sixth straight win to his undefeated streak, the jiu-jitsu black belt sees his style as the perfect one to beat Pettis.

"I wouldn’t let him get comfortable in the cage," he said. "I would do the right strategy, closing the distance. After what I saw in his loss to Clay Guida, that’s the game to beat him. I would impose my strategy. That’s the key to win this fight, don’t let him like the fight.

"Things are going great now. It’s a matter of time before. My time will come."

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