clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rafael dos Anjos would love to defend UFC lightweight title against his ‘idol' Georges St-Pierre

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

No one knows which way Georges St-Pierre will go with his UFC comeback, but if the former welterweight great wants to head down south to 155 pounds -- as St-Pierre hinted he could do "easily" on last week's episode of The MMA Hour -- then UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos is more than willing to accept the challenge.

"I'm a big fan of Georges St-Pierre," dos Anjos said on a Tuesday conference call ahead of his UFC Fight Night 90 match-up against Eddie Alvarez. "For me it would be great to fight against my idol. Of course, man. It's a new challenger. It's a big money fight, too. Of course, if he can make it (to lightweight), I'm here, man. I'll have the belt."

Upon announcing his intentions to return to the UFC, St-Pierre revealed that he wanted take the next phase of his career "more experimentally," moving up and down in weight in search of lucrative fights rather than returning back to his longtime stomping grounds at welterweight. St-Pierre appeared to have his sights set on new UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping as his first target, but he reiterated several times that lightweight would be a smooth transition under the right circumstances.

That could be a good omen for dos Anjos. If the fight between he and St-Pierre were to happen, it would easily present the biggest opportunity of the Brazilian's career, considering that dos Anjos' last big payday died on the vine when he was forced to withdraw from his scheduled bout against Conor McGregor at UFC 196 due to injury. But just as it always has been, the paycheck is secondary to dos Anjos. Instead, he simply gets excited about the challenge of facing an all-time great.

"A lot of people talk about that, about money, money, money" dos Anjos said. "Everybody likes money. I like money. But I don't love money. You know, I don't love money. I fight because I like challenges. I like my life. I like competing, but it's not just because of the money."

Of course, dos Anjos will have to get through a tough challenge in Alvarez before any superfights can even be considered. The two are slated to meet on July 7 as the opening appetizer in a stacked International Fight Week, and Alvarez carries into the contest a wave of momentum from back-to-back wins over Gilbert Melendez and Anthony Pettis. Still, dos Anjos is confident in the stylistic makeup of the fight.

"I just feel I have more weapons to win this fight," dos Anjos said. "My stand-up is better. My wrestling is better. My ground game is better.

"Eddie Alvarez, man, he's a tough guy. He's been in the game for a long time and he's the only guy in the line now, he's the next challenger. I'm just going to go there and prove to the world, prove to myself, and show everybody how I work with my team. This victory is for my team, my friends, and just show everybody that I'm the champion and I'm going to be with this belt for a long [time]."

It is not lost on dos Anjos that Alvarez has been stopped only once since 2009, and even that loss came via submission to Michael Chandler after a bloody and brutal war of attrition. While Alvarez's ability to sustain punishment and deliver it back has long been one of the former Bellator champion's greatest strengths, dos Anjos has never worried himself about what is and is not possible once those cage doors swing close.

"Cerrone was also very durable," dos Anjos said. "Ben Henderson, he had never been knocked out before fighting me. Man, I'm just excited. It'll be a great fight. Eddie, the guy walks forward. He likes to fight violent, he likes to walk forward. That's my style too and it's going to be a great fight, but I have no doubts that I'm going to leave the arena with my belt back home."