Move from Brazil to States paying off for UFC on FX 8's Rafael dos Anjos


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

It’s a bit ironic that Rafael dos Anjos believes the best thing for his career was moving from Brazil to the United States – yet now one of the biggest sources of motivation for him is the chance to go back there to fight.

Dos Anjos (18-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC) will square off with Evan Dunham (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) later this month in a pivotal lightweight bout at UFC on FX 8. Dunham is ranked No. 15 in USA TODAY and MMAjunkie.com’s latest 155-pound rankings, and dos Anjos is just behind him.

UFC on FX 8 takes place May 18 at Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Santa Catarina, Brazil. The event’s main-card airs on FX following prelims on FUEL TV and Facebook.

After starting his UFC career 0-2, dos Anjos has been on a 7-2 run, including wins over high-end names like Terry Etim, George Sotiropoulos, Anthony Njokuani and Mark Bocek. But with three straight wins, a win over Dunham might be his biggest victory yet – especially considering Dunham called him out.

“He beat two guys who beat me before,” dos Anjos told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “Maybe he thinks just because he beat those guys, he can beat me, too. I want to prove to him that he’s wrong.”

Dos Anjos hasn’t fought in Brazil since he signed with the UFC, and he’s glad to be part of what has been a highly successful return for the promotion to the South American cradle of MMA.

“I’m so happy to fight in Brazil again,” he said. “My last fight in Brazil was 2008, so I’m so excited for this fight. The UFC in Brazil now is so famous, and I’m excited to get there and put on a good show.”

But continuing to live and train in his home country just wasn’t in the cards for the 28-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.

Instead, he uprooted his life there and, with his wife and two kids, moved to the States. He said the impact on his MMA game has been all positive now that he’s training primarily in Southern California.

“When I was in Brazil, I had many problems at my old gym,” he said. “Many guys didn’t show up to train and I had to train by myself many times. So that’s why I decided to come here to train. I train with the best gyms here – my wrestling with Jacob Harman, I train my muay Thai with Master Rafael Cordeiro. I’ve got great partners here, great coaches and I think it was a really smart decision when I decided to come here. Here, there’s always someone wanting to help you.”

Dos Anjos knows Dunham likely will be a more than game opponent for him. The Oregon native started his career 11-0 before a controversial split-decision loss to Sean Sherk, and though he’s gone just 3-2 since then with losses to Melvin Guillard and T.J. Grant, he always comes to fight – including three “Fight of the Night” bonuses to show for his efforts.

“He’s a tough opponent and he’s got a big heart,” dos Anjos said. “But I’ve been training so hard. I’ve got a goal in my life. I’m training as hard as I can and I’m going to go 100 percent and I will win this fight for sure. I’ve been training my standup and wrestling, my BJJ. He’s a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, too. And he’s good at wrestling. But I think I’ve got a better all-around game, I move around better in the cage, I’ve got better footwork. And I’ll use my speed – that’s the game plan.”

Dunham will be fighting dos Anjos with the crowd against him, like so many American fighters before him who have ventured into Brazil to fight a Brazilian.

And while there may be pressure on Dunham in enemy territory, there sometimes can be just as much pressure on the hometown fan favorite. But dos Anjos doesn’t believe that’s likely to make much difference, at least not where he’s concerned.

“Many of my friends are going to be there, but I feel no pressure,” he said. “I’m not an emotional fighter. I’ll be there, and I’m going to do my job, same as the last time.”

For the latest on UFC on FX 8, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

view original article >>

Related News

  • 29 days ago
  • 146 views

The team of analysts for the UFC on Fox Sports 1 and Fox broadcasts has been providing the most in-depth coverage that mixed martial arts has seen in its 20 years of existence. With a collection of seasoned fight veterans and a handful of well-versed hosts at the helm, the people who work the pre- and post-fight shows for the UFC have consistently raised the bar. The UFC's hectic 2014 campaign is in full swing and that means Jon Anik is a very busy man. The Massachusetts native has become a stap more

  • 29 days ago
  • 28 views

The official weigh-in event for UFC Fight Night 44: "Swanson vs. Stephens" takes place tonight (Fri., June 27, 2014) at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. As usual, MMAmania.com will provide both a live video stream and complete UFC Fight Night 44 weigh-in results below, as well as detailed recap of the festivities just as soon as they conclude. The first fighter is expected to tip the scale at 5 p.m. ET. Complete UFC Fight Night 44 weigh in results are as follows: Main card: 145 lbs.: Cub S more

  • 28 days ago
  • 13 views

After a four-month hiatus, the colorful UFC veteran Don Frye returns to give his UFC 175 edition of "The Predator's Predictions." "In honor of Independence Day, I'd like to thank all the men and women in the U.S. military and their families ... not those dirtbag politicians. The men and women in the military do it all. Thank you and God bless you," Frye says at the beginning of the video. UFC 175 is the company's annual Fourth of July weekend card, taking place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center more

  • 28 days ago
  • 52 views

Gastelum was unable to work with Mike Dolce this time around, according to this report, because Dolce was "too expensive." Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) held its weigh in event earlier today (Fri., June 27, 2014) inside the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, for those fighters competing at the UFC Fight Night 44: "Swanson vs. Stephens" event, which is scheduled to take place tomorrow night (Sat., June 28) live on FOX Sports 1. For complete UFC Fight Night 44 weigh in results and video cli more

  • 27 days ago
  • 24 views

AUCKLAND, New Zealand – What looked like a well-planned 2014 for the UFC’s Canadian team is now anything but, as a pair of shows intended for the country are no longer sure things.Filed under: News, UFC more

  • 27 days ago
  • 45 views

Following the conclusion of the New Zealand Fight Night card, Tom Wright revealed that the promotion was still securing a location for the UFC 178 card in September, and had officially moved the Montreal date from December to March 2015. According to Tom Wright, Toronto is far from a lock for UFC 178. The UFC's Managing Director of Operations in Canada, Australia and New Zealand made it clear that while the promotion was still looking for a location to host UFC 178, they were still considering T more

  • 27 days ago
  • 32 views

While fighters of late have received title shots with witty post-fight quotes or clever social media campaigns, UFC featherweight Cub Swanson has set himself apart from that crowd. Following a win over Jeremy Stephens at UFC Fight Night San Antonio on Saturday, Swanson proclaimed that title shots, while they remain one of the most desirable fates for him, aren't going to be asked for by him. Instead, the fighter said he would like let his fights do the pleading for him. "For me, winning a title more

  • 26 days ago
  • 52 views

With UFC Fight Night 43 in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Joe Silva’s (and Sean Shelby’s) shoes, and play UFC matchmaker.Filed under: News, UFC more

  • 26 days ago
  • 47 views

UFC Fight Night 44 was all about the main event, and against Jeremy Stephens, Cub Swanson delivered the goods with his sixth consecutive UFC victory.Filed under: News, UFC more