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Rafael dos Anjos dismisses Conor McGregor’s reason for USADA exit: ACL injury ‘way worse’ than broken leg

UFC 197 On-Sale Press Conference Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Rafael dos Anjos doesn’t buy the idea that Conor McGregor’s recovery requires him not to take drug tests. But whether or not the former two-division champion is doing anything nefarious behind the scenes, dos Anjos still wants to fight him.

“I’ll fight him now,” dos Anjos said Monday on The MMA Hour. “Just say OK, come to Las Vegas. That’s a guy that everything he’s for, I’m against. All his values are against my values. Let me put it this way: If we are in high school, that’s the type of guy that we’re going to fight in the school. That’s for sure. I don’t like him, and I want this fight.”

Dos Anjos made that very clear this past Saturday after beating Bryan Barberena at UFC Orlando, calling out McGregor in his post-fight speech. He argues they have unfinished business after he was forced to withdraw from UFC 196 due to a broken foot, and with McGregor soon to return after suffering a broken leg at UFC 264, he should get the opportunity.

“When I’m putting myself in his shoes, who [is he] going to fight?” dos Anjos asked. “Is he going to fight Poirier again for the fourth time? He’s going to fight Michael Chandler, who’s not even in the division he wants to fight? He looks like he’s juicing up – he’s not going to fight at 155 any more. He’s going to fight at 170, and also, with all due respect to Michael Chandler, he’s been putting on great fights, but he’s been losing a lot.

“We have a history. We were supposed to fight two or three times already, and let’s go. Let’s bring the bad blood again. It will be a fun fight.”

McGregor’s return has drawn scrutiny since the revelation of his exit from the USADA drug testing pool. At least one prominent UFC fighter has already accused the Irish star of doping and expressed frustration at a perceived double-standard for other fighters, who may only exit the pool unless they retire or are released from contract. In response, McGregor has blasted critics and defended his absence as a necessary part of his treatment. He recently said of his treatment regimen, “everything was fully disclosed before I began,” and hoped to return to the testing pool in February 2023.

McGregor cited Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman as fighters who can understand the truth about his plight. But to dos Anjos, those are fighters who prove his point. He said the idea that a broken leg would require “The Notorious” to leave the testing pool is “total BS.”

“I broke my jaw, man, in two pieces,” dos Anjos said. “I’ve went through a lot. All the fights, Anderson Silva, Chris Weidman, and actually that injury looks bad. I’m not a doctor, but I know what I’m talking about. That injury looks bad, but it’s not worse than an ACL re-injury. You recover from that way quicker than an ACL injury, because that’s bone to bone. When it heals, you put in a plate, you’re 100 percent. You’ve just got to do some tgherapy, but ACL injury is way worse than that. So that’s no an excuse.”

To the Brazilian vet, there’s only one explanation for McGregor’s actions. Asked directly whether he believed McGregor used banned performance-enhancers, he asked, “why would he remove himself from the USADA pool? He looks jacked. He looks big. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t remove himself from the USADA pool. That’s weird.”

Nevertheless, dos Anjos’ objections to McGregor and his character don’t deter him from asking for what he wants, and he believes the UFC is on board.

“I got the sense [the UFC likes the idea], and I think the fight was supposed to happen seven years ago,” he said. “On that card, [Kamaru] Usman was fighting Leon [Edwards] on the prelims. Francis Ngannou was doing his debut. I’m still here winning fights, finishing people, and I deserve that fight for everything I’ve done for the company. I believe it would sell a lot.”

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