The only way is up for Rafael dos Anjos.
The former UFC lightweight champion moved up to 170-pounds after losing the title last year and wants to challenge Tyron Woodley in the hopes of becoming a two-division champ.
That’s why dos Anjos rejected Kamaru Usman, the 29-year-old ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ who called out the Brazilian after knocking out Sergio Moraes at UFC Fight Night 116 last month.
“I just beat the No. 6 in the division and I’m currently at No. 5, it doesn’t make any sense to fight the No. 10,” dos Anjos told MMA Fighting in a recent interview. “I understand that everyone is trying to promote themselves to get interesting fights, but I’m worried about fighters who are ahead of me.”
Usman, the winner of season 21 of The Ultimate Fighter, doesn’t think dos Anjos is deserving of the title shot just yet but RDA is confident in his ability and told Usman to mind his own business.
“Even his manager said I deserve to fight for the title,” dos Anjos responded, “so I don’t know why he’s worried about me. I’m a former champion, I’m in the UFC for almost 10 years, and this kid just got here the other day. Relax, man, mind your own business and don’t cut the line.”
Dos Anjos, who holds back to back wins over Tarec Saffiedine and Neil Magny, believes that, unlike Demian Maia and Stephen Thompson, he has the ideal skill set to dethrone ‘T-Wood’.
“He was only worried about the striking against ‘Wonderboy’ and only worried about not going to the ground with Demian, but he will be confused with me,” he said. “I’ll take him out of his comfort zone, and he will have to work twice as hard.”
Woodley defended his title against Maia this past July and there has been no news of his next opponent. Dos Anjos is ranked as the No. 5 welterweight in the world, as per UFC rankings.