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New UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos fought with torn MCL

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

If the idea of Rafael dos Anjos steamrolling UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis weren't enough, just think of him doing it with a hurt knee. In the aftermath of dos Anjos' lopsided upset victory over Pettis at UFC 185 in Dallas on Saturday night, it was revealed that the Brazilian had "blown out" his knee, as UFC president Dana White put it, just a few weeks before the fight.

In the post-fight press conference, dos Anjos himself spoke about the MCL that he fears he tore.

"The day that [the UFC] was shooting the Countdown with me, the same day they were shooting some part of my sparring session, I bumped my knee," he told the media gathering at American Airlines Arena. "And I think for the fact that I'd been so active, my whole career I've never had a knee injury. My whole life. My knee's really, really tough. I've got a strong knee. But for the first time this happened. And it was like three weeks ago -- I couldn't grapple, I couldn't wrestle since then

"And I don't know if you guys noticed, but I did a kick at the open work outs. I didn't use any kicks because I was kind of dehydrated and I didn't want my injury to get worse. So everything [would go] perfect during the fight."

It didn't slow dos Anjos down, nor prevent him from scoring one of the most resounding upsets in UFC title history to become the first ever Brazilian lightweight champion. From the opening bell dos Anjos pressured Pettis, gave him different looks and -- whenever Pettis recovered any kind of rhythm -- took him to the canvas, where he controlled the action. With the victory, dos Anjos has now won four fights in a row and nine of ten. His only loss was against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC on FOX 11 last April.

Dos Anjos conceded that the pressure game was the plan coming in, even though Pettis is known as a counter-striker.

"Yeah, the strategy was chasing him, hit hard and make him scared about my hands," he said. "I think I got it. Once I hit him, I think the fight changed."

The 30-year old Dos Anjos isn't sure when he'll defend his title with the injury hovering in the air. In fact, he isn't exactly sure of the extent of the injury.

"Actually I didn't go to the doctor yet," he said. "I need to do an MRI just to make sure. But I think it's not bad. I will not need surgery. I just felt a pop, but I don't think I'll need surgery."

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