Following his dominant five round beat down of former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis at March’s UFC 185, Rafael dos Anjos was forced to take some time off to deal with a torn MCL suffered before the fight and surgery on his nose.
The surprising champion was aiming for a fall return after an incredible five fights in 11 months, but news has arrived tonight that he’ll unfortunately have to wait a bit longer. Ariel Helwani revealed on UFC Tonight that dos Anjos’ manager Ali Abdel Aziz revealed to him that ‘RDA’ has not been medically cleared and will be out until at least December.
While it’s not good news, it could actually end up working out well in terms of timing. The consensus top contender with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Pettis on the sidelines, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone won his eighth straight bout with a second round TKO of John Makdessi at last Saturday’s (May 23, 2015) UFC 187, but he also came out of the fight with a significant rib injury that could require some time off.
That’s not really in ‘Cowboy’s’ wheelhouse, as the fan favorite has never been known for waiting even close to seven months for his next fight. Whether or not he decides to risk his title shot and take another fight before he faces dos Anjos will depend on how quickly he can recover.
Dos Anjos and Cerrone fought once before, with dos Anjos taking a unanimous decision after rocking ‘Cowboy’ with a big shot in the first round. But it turned into a much closer bout in the third round, with Cerrone appearing to take over the momentum. Both fighters are at all-new levels right now as arguably the two best lightweights in the world.
The new champion didn’t appear to slow down whatsoever over the course of five rounds against Pettis, meaning that his rematch with Cerrone is most likely to be a war, even if we have to wait seven months or more to see it.