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Rafael dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington for interim welterweight title set for UFC 224

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Colby Covington is headed back to Brazil. And this time he’s fighting for a belt.

Rafael dos Anjos vs. Covington for the interim welterweight title is set for UFC 224 on May 12 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, MMA Fighting confirmed.

BJPenn.com first reported the fight was in the works two weeks ago.

The controversial Covington, who drew the ire of Brazilian fans after he referred to them as “filthy animals” following his win over Demian Maia in October, told MMAFighting.com that he feels like he’s fighting for the real belt.

“You can call it an interim, but everyone knows (UFC welterweight champion Tyron) Woodley ain’t coming back when they put that belt around my waist,” Covington said, “and they are paying me like it’s a title fight.”

Covington (13-1) has won his last five fights in a row. In less than two years, he transformed into one of the most controversial fighters in the sport due to his interviews and social media presence, as well as a bizarre run-in with Fabricio Werdum in Australia late last year that saw Werdum throw a boomerang at Covington. Since beating Maia in October, he had been chasing a title fight against Woodley. However, Woodley has repeatedly said he isn’t interested in fighting Covington.

Speaking of Woodley, the UFC’s 170-pound champion, who’s successfully defended the title three times since November 2016, is currently recovering from shoulder surgery and is hoping to return to action in July.

Asked whether he was concerned for his safety in Brazil, Covington said, “UFC has guaranteed my safety. Only security concern is gonna be when they lock RDA up and he has to stand across the cage from 170 pounds of raw American steel and sex appeal.”

Dos Anjos (28-9), a former UFC lightweight champion, is 3-0 since moving up to welterweight. The Rio native has defeated Tarec Saffiedine, Neil Magny and Robbie Lawler.

“May 12, I put all the super villains that you nerds read about in your comic books to shame,” Covington added. “I’m taking over the world and RDA sure as hell can’t stop me.”

UFC 224, headlined by Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington for the UFC women’s bantamweight title, will take place at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio.