Three days removed from his surprising five round domination of Anthony Pettis at last Saturday’s (March 14, 2015) UFC 185, new UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos is still adjusting to life as an unlikely titleholder.
Yet before he can get settled in too much, dos Anjos will have to deal with a possibly torn MCL that he suffered in the lead-up to his bout with “Showtime.”
It’s a serious but not exactly devastating injury that made dos Anjos’ victory all the more shocking. It’s also one that could keep him on the sidelines for a number of months similar to the following months of Pettis’ victory over Benson Henderson at UFC 164, ironically enough.
While Pettis eventually missed almost 15 months with a torn PCL that he further aggravated in the gym, dos Anjos has a much more optimistic timetable for his return. He appeared on this week’s episode of The MMA Hour to state that while he was indeed weary to use his right leg in the fight, he doesn’t believe he is badly hurt.
“I woke up around 3 a.m. (Sunday) to go to the restroom, and I couldn’t walk,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going on. I need to have a MRI and make sure. My foot is kind of sore too because I kicked him a lot, kicked his elbow. I’m gonna be fine. I need to do a MRI to make sure my body is okay.
“(The injury) didn’t bother me at all (during the fight), but I was just afraid to kick with my right leg. I just kicked him a couple times. I like to go for body kicks with my strong leg, but I wanted to save my leg.”
Dos Anjos will heal up after his MRI and most likely move on to an anticipated bout with the winner of UFC 187’s Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Donald Cerrone bout, where most people are picking “The Eagle” to emerge victorious with his peerless wrestling pedigree.
He’ll obviously have to get past an elite and surging opponent in Cerrone, but Nurmagomedov already owns a relatively dominant win over dos Anjos back at UFC on FOX 11 last April. The new champion voiced his stance that he’s ready for either one of the top contenders.
“I still have that loss against Khabib,” he said. “Khabib has a tough fight, Cerrone is a tough opponent. I don’t know how it’s gonna be to come back from a bad injury and fight against him, but we’ll see. If he beats Cerrone, okay, I’ll fight. I don’t have any preference. I’ll be ready for anyone of them.”
Dos Anjos was then asked whether or not he prefers a rematch with Nurmagomedov in order to avenge his only loss in his last ten fights, and he not surprisingly views it as a more interesting prospect:
“Yeah, I think so, because I lost to him and I would like to get it cleared,” he agreed. “But it’s another time now. Everything changed. The next fight will be a different fight.”
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