Rafael dos Anjos is on the cusp of the first step to getting back the UFC lightweight title, but he still remembers how it felt when he lost it only four months ago.
“In my last fight, I lost the title,” dos Anjos said in a UFC interview (transcription via MMAjunkie). “That was a bitter pill to swallow. I’m building myself back, and I will be back stronger than ever.
“Once I got back home, I knew my kids and my wife and my true friends, I’m still a champion for them, and I’m ready to prove it once again.”
Dos Anjos headlined UFC Fight Night 90 looking to make his second title defense. The challenger that night was former two-time Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.
Dos Anjos had made his way to the title by becoming the first man to knockout former WEC and UFC champion Ben Henderson, and then dominating Nate Diaz in a unanimous decision victory.
At UFC 185, he challenged then-champion Anthony Pettis and proceeded to bully Pettis for the entire fight. It went the full five-round distance, and at the end the winner was of no question as dos Anjos picked up the one-sided unanimous decision victory over the man many expected to remain as champion for several years to come.
His first defense came against Donald Cerrone in a rematch that dos Anjos has won. The second chapter only proved more conclusive though as dos Anjos ran through Cerrone in one minute.
Alvarez ended up doing something similar though, as he finished dos Anjos in a shocking first round victory. In his return though, dos Anjos is set to face fellow top contender Tony Ferguson at The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 3 Finale in a matchup that holds heavy title implications.