UFC lightweight contender Rafael dos Anjos put together arguably the best win of his mixed martial arts career when he beat Donald Cerrone at UFC Fight Night 27 this August.
Many had questions about dos Anjos’ striking, as the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt had mostly been winning decisions. However, he responded to those questions by rocking Cerrone with a huge right hand early on, and then sealed up the win by snapping hard kicks to the body.
The win has dos Anjos in line for a top-level bout in his next trip to the Octagon, and he already has a potential opponent lined up in his mind:
"One more win and I should fight for the title. I won my last five fights. I’m in the UFC for five years, so I deserve a shot at the title after my next win. T.J. had two title shots and got injured twice," he said. "I think it’s too little for him now, I believe it would be fair if he has to do another fight first, and a fight against me makes sense. It would be a good fight, and I would be one step closer to the title.” - via MMA Fighting
Indeed Grant would be a tough test for the surging Brazilian, tentatively taking place early next year. But there’s been no confirmation of Grant’s official return. Concussions require detailed medical clearance, especially in terms of fighting.
Dos Anjos is definitely in line for a top-level opponent at lightweight. He’s proved himself repeatedly and may be in line for a title shot with one more win. Champion Anthony Pettis will take on former Strikeforce 155-pound champ Josh Thomson at December’s UFC on Fox 9, and dos Anjos may find himself facing the winner of that high-profile bout.
But he’s got some work to do before then. Dos Anjos pulled off the win against Cerrone, but he noticeably slowed later on in the bout. If it had been a five-rounder, Cerrone may have come back to take the decision. For that reason, dos Anjos should focus on his cardio while the UFC sorts out his next opponent.
Who do you think dos Anjos should draw next in his continuing quest for the UFC lightweight belt?