Rafael dos Anjos has completely turned his career around in the space of one year.
2016 wasn’t the best year for Rafael dos Anjos, as the Brazilian lost his UFC lightweight title to Eddie Alvarez, suffering his first stoppage loss in over six years, and dropped a grueling decision to current interim champion Tony Ferguson at The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 3 Finale in Mexico City.
Dos Anjos admitted to being a ‘broken man’ this time last year, but the Brazilian has completely reinvented himself in 2017 — winning three straight fights at welterweight — and plans to have an even more spectacular 2018.
“On this exactly day, a year ago, I was a broken man,” dos Anjos said on a recent edition The MMA Hour (h/t Guilherme Cruz of MMA Fighting). “I passed my Christmas as a broken man. I lost my belt, I lost the follow up, and here I am today, one year later, just beat a guy like Robbie Lawler. It’s just my faith. I know God has bigger plans for my life and I’m too strong and I have a lot in me.”
After outclassing former welterweight champ Robbie Lawler earlier this month at UFC on FOX 26, ‘RDA’ wants to challenge Tyron Woodley for the title and become a two-division champ.
“I beat the toughest guy of the division and the way that I did, I don’t see other guys (to fight) Woodley,” he said. “I think I deserve to fight for the title. Now it’s my turn.”
“I’m on my way to being the first Brazilian two-division champion and the welterweight champion. I have no doubt that that’s gonna happen. It’s my time now.”
However, with Woodley on the sidelines for the next couple of months due to injury, dos Anjos, 33, would also like to take some time off to recover and heal his body.
“I got three fights in six months,” he said. “I need time to recover my body. I’ve been in fight camp for six, seven months. I haven’t had time to really learn, to try to get better, I was just in fight camp. Now I need some time to really enjoy the process, get better.”
Dos Anjos beat Lawler, Neil Magny, and Tarec Saffiedine this year and is currently ranked at No. 2 in the official UFC welterweight rankings, just one spot below top contender Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson.