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Rafael dos Anjos not upset by loss of huge Conor McGregor payday

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- When Rafael dos Anjos broke his foot in February, it cost him his second potential title defense. More than that, it squandered likely the biggest payday of his career.

The UFC lightweight champion doesn't like to talk financial specifics -- few fighters do -- but any time a bout with Conor McGregor is in the offing, there is a lot of green to be had. And not just the green on the Irish flag.

Dos Anjos had to pull out of that fight with McGregor at UFC 196 in March. Nate Diaz filled in on short notice and he and McGregor made magic -- reportedly the highest grossing UFC pay-per-view of all time. Diaz, by the way, won by second-round submission.

For his part, though, dos Anjos said he is not broken up about the missed opportunity.

"I would have made a lot of money," dos Anjos said Monday at a UFC media lunch. "I like money; everybody likes money. But I don't love money. If I don't fight McGregor, I still have a good life. Coming from where I came from, I was born naked with no teeth. Now I have everything."

Dos Anjos (25-7) has recovered from the injury and will now defend his title against Eddie Alvarez in the main event of UFC Fight Night 90 on July 7 in Las Vegas. That event airs on UFC Fight Pass, the promotion's digital service. It isn't quite the spectacle of a pay-per-view main event against the sport's biggest draw.

But dos Anjos is comfortable with the change. He's not kicking himself -- even with a newly healed foot -- over the loss of dollars.

"It's not something that I'm like, 'Oh man, I should make the good money,'" dos Anjos said. "I think money comes and goes. What comes easy goes easy. And that would be easy money. But it's fine, man. If this fight happens down the road, I'll be there. If not, I'm happy with what I'm making and my intention is to keep working hard and keep my title."

McGregor, the UFC's featherweight champion, has put trying to win titles in two divisions on hold. After the loss to Diaz, he sought a rematch with the first man to beat him in the Octagon. Those two will battle it out again at UFC 202 on Aug. 20 in Las Vegas.

McGregor moved all the way up to 170 pounds to fight Diaz. The second go around will be at the same weight. Dos Anjos believes McGregor using that as a ploy.

"I think that's why he's taking this fight at 170," dos Anjos said. "Making excuses if he loses again, which I think he will. [Diaz] beat him [on] nine days notice, now he has a full fight camp. I fought [Diaz]. The guy is tough, he's hard to finish. He takes shots. I think it will be hard for him with Diaz having a full fight camp."

If McGregor does end up beating Diaz, a move to lightweight toward the belt is possible. Dos Anjos won't anticipate. He doesn't like speaking about McGregor as it is. The Irishman, in dos Anjos' estimation, is a man shying away from competing in his own weight class and defending his own title.

"Talking about Conor McGregor is hard, because he's the featherweight champion and he's fighting at 170," dos Anjos said. "I can't make [145]. I need to take my leg off to make [145]. He's the guy that wants two belts. He's the one that talked about it. He wants to be two-division champ. If he wants it and the UFC thinks he earned it, I will be there."