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Rafael Dos Anjos of Brazil reacts after his victory over Renato Moicano of Brazil in their 160-pound catchweight fight during the UFC 272 event on March 05, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
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Rafael Dos Anjos: ‘I Don’t Feel This Fight Is Going Five Rounds’

With Nearly 15 Years In The UFC, Rafael Dos Anjos Has His Sights On Adding To His Legacy And Climbing The Welterweight Rankings With A Win In His 12th UFC Main Event

In November of 2023, the UFC’s 30th anniversary won’t be the only milestone worth celebrating. Former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos, who made his UFC debut in November of 2008, will officially have reached 15 years of competing in the UFC.

That’s an astonishing accomplishment considering that Dos Anjos climbed to the top of the lightweight division before moving up to welterweight and working his way all the way to an interim title shot.

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It’s incredible that Dos Anjos has not only stayed at the top of the food chain all these years, but also that, to this day, he’s still fighting contenders at the top of their respective divisions.

This weekend at UFC Fight Night: Luque vs Dos Anjos the two-division contender will compete in his twelfth career main event; this time he’ll be opposite dynamic brawler Vicente Luque.

Rafael Dos Anjos poses for a portrait during media day inside the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 10, 2023. (Photo by Kiana Solomon/Zuffa LLC)
Rafael Dos Anjos poses for a portrait during media day inside the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 10, 2023. (Photo by Kiana Solomon/Zuffa LLC)

“I will be in the UFC for 15 years in November and fighting another main event. That shows that I’m still completing at the highest level,” Dos Anjos told UFC.com. “He’s ranked No. 10 and I’m not paying too much attention to the rankings, but that’s a fact. I can’t wait to go there, and this will be my twelfth main event and I think having this win will be great for my legacy.

“The level of competition for the past ten years has been really high. The company is making 30 years and I’ll have 15 years with the company, so I’m really happy. The UFC has always taken care of me and I’m really happy to be a part of it.”

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There’s no question that Dos Anjos’ achievements will land him in the UFC Hall of Fame someday, but if you ask the 38-year-old when he thinks that could be, he’ll tell you firsthand that he’s got plenty of tread left on the tires.

Rafael Dos Anjos | Top Moments
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Rafael Dos Anjos | Top Moments
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And his attention is dialed in on showcasing that versus Luque at the UFC APEX this weekend.

“He’s really good. He was near the title at one point, beating Tyron Woodley, but he got some losses. He’s a very dangerous guy,” dos Anjos said. “Walking forward and throwing bombs with heavy hands and he has a very good ground game, as well. He’s a dangerous guy and it’s going to be a great fight on Saturday.

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“We kind of have a similar game. We walk forward, but I know I have more experience with five rounds and that will be key in this fight.”

Saturday will be Luque’s second career main event and Dos Anjos is confident that he’ll be able to use that experience to his advantage to search for the finish in the later rounds. Dos Anjos also studied Luque’s last fight against Geoff Neal, which resulted in the first time that any fighter had knocked Luque out, and he believes that he was able to pick out some things that will help him get his hand raised.

Rafael Dos Anjos of Brazil reacts after his submission victory over Bryan Barberena in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Amway Center on December 03, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Rafael Dos Anjos of Brazil reacts after his submission victory over Bryan Barberena in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Amway Center on December 03, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“He got hit a lot. He took a lot of damage in that fight, so it’s been a year. Every time he was southpaw, he got hit a lot. It might be hard [for him] coming off two losses and one year without fighting but I can’t wait for Saturday,” Dos Anjos said. “We both walk forward, and we are not afraid to trade. I don’t feel this fight going five rounds it’s going to finish before. I look forward to getting that finish before the fifth.”

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Getting a big finish would launch Dos Anjos right back into the mix in the welterweight division. There are some fresh faces in the top ten that he would love to test himself against, and unless some big money fight came his way at lightweight, Dos Anjos is locked in on making the climb up the welterweight ladder.

“I think, as of now, I will stay at welterweigh; I feel more comfortable at that weight, unless it’s a super fight where I will make a good amount of money and it’s worth it, I will drop,” Dos Anjos said. “But welterweight is my home right now.”

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Dos Anjos has enjoyed the freedom that he’s had by moving between two different weight classes. He believes that time spent in both divisions has helped him maintain a competitive edge and extend his longevity at the top of the fight game.

And he has nothing but confidence that he’ll get it done versus Luque this weekend and put himself right in a spot to face the best welterweights the UFC has to offer.

“I have no doubts about it. I know how much work I’ve been putting in,” Dos Anjos said. “It’s a lot of sacrifice to be in the UFC for so many years and still be competing at the highest level. I keep away from a lot of distraction in my life and the hard work pays off.”

UFC Fight Night: Luque vs Dos Anjos took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas on August 12, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass