Fresh off the biggest win of his MMA career, Rafael dos Anjos has a new fight booked in the UFC.
dos Anjos, who recently scored back-to-back knockouts over Jason High and Ben Henderson inside the Octagon, is set to take on Nate Diaz in the co-main event of UFC on FOX 13 in Dec. 13, and he wasn’t expecting to meet Diaz in his next bout.
"I was a little surprised (when they offer me the Diaz fight)," dos Anjos told MMAFighting.com, "But the title fight is already scheduled, Khabib (Nurmagomedov) is injured, (Donald) Cerrone and Eddie Alvarez are set to fight. Everybody is scheduled to fight, so Nate Diaz is back. He’s a tough fighter who fought for the title already, and he has a good name, so I think it’s a good fight for me."
The Brazilian lightweight competed three times since Diaz’s last fight, and he sees that as an extra advantage when they meet in Phoenix.
"He hasn’t fought in a while, and I’m coming off a good streak," he said. "I've fought three times in five months, and I’m going for my fourth fight this year, so that’s an advantage for me."
With a jiu-jitsu background, dos Anjos showed that his striking classes with Rafael Cordeiro are paying off. With Diaz up next, he wants to go 3-0 in eight months with three knockout finishes.
"I like to fight opponents that are taller than me. I think it’s a good match-up for me," the Brazilian said. "His fighting style doesn’t help him. Keeping your hands low is dangerous. I will throw my hands hard on him. I’m going for the knockout - my third straight knockout.
"I will work with a lot of kicks, and he doesn’t kick that much. And I can also take him down and work on top. That’s the game plan."
Competing in a stacked lightweight division, dos Anjos hopes to be the next in line for the 155-pound gold after he finishes Diaz a week after Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez.
"I think so. I hope so," he said. "Khabib is out with an injury, Melendez is fighting for the title now, and I’ve beaten Cerrone already. Alvarez got to the UFC now and makes no sense to have him fighting for the title if he beats Cerrone. I think I should have the next title shot."