Rafael dos Anjos and Donald Cerrone delivered one of the best staredowns during Las Vegas’ "Go Big" press conference on Sept. 4, and the UFC lightweight champion finally revealed what he said to his next opponent during the staredown.
"He said to me to stay healthy, and I told him ‘you too’. And he told me to stop talking shit, but I’m not talking shit," dos Anjos said during Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. "He’s been talking shit. He’s making accusations. I just said ‘man, you’re not gonna get any closer to this belt than now’. That’s what I told him. And then I put the belt on my shoulder and I told him ‘you’re not gonna get any closer to this belt’."
dos Anjos defeated Cerrone via unanimous decision in 2013, and he’s not impressed by Cerrone’s eight-fight winning streak. In fact, the UFC champion believes "Cowboy" will choke at UFC on FOX 17.
"Of course," he said when asked if he believes Cerrone chokes in big fights. "He knows that."
"I think he’s still the same guy," he continued. "It’s like a good soccer player when they are on the final and they have a penalty kick to score, has that chance to score, and he’s gonna kick the ball out of the goal. I think he’s that kind of fighter, you know? When I have big tests I always go over it, and you’ll be the difference on December 19."
Coming off big wins over Ben Henderson, Nate Diaz and Anthony Pettis, the Brazilians hopes to receive some credit from fans after December’s rematch with Cerrone.
"People don’t believe in me very much, but I have my teammates and my family that believe in me so much, they see how hard I work," he said. "I gotta show some confidence. I just told that guy the truth. He fought for the WEC belt twice and I think he’s happy to be fighting for the title."
Even with all the hard work, dos Anjos admits life hasn’t changed much after beating "Showtime" in March to win the UFC gold.
"Not many things changed," dos Anjos said. "Fans recognize me more. I didn’t get any crazy sponsors. I don’t have any extra sponsors since I got the belt. Not many things changes on my life, but on my mind anything changed as well. I’m still hungry to train, I still feel I got a lot of things to do in the division."
Winner of nine of his past 10 bouts inside the Octagon, dos Anjos expects to put his name in the history books and become one of the best lightweights ever.
"I don’t want to just be a champion and I’m done with that, I wanna be a lightweight legend," he said. "I wanna make history in my division. Not just because I got the belt I’m comfortable with, I feel I’m (hungrier) right now. I’m looking to be the best lightweight ever. I feel it’s just the beginning of my legacy.
"I’m still 30 years old and still have a lot of things to do in the division. I think things will come once I get the respect that I deserve. Keeping my belt for a long time… Things will happen like normal, I can’t force those things. My goal is to keep my belt, working hard, and making my friends and my team proud of me."