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Rafael dos Anjos wants title shot, promises not to let champ Tyron Woodley 'walk around'

EDMONTON – Rafael dos Anjos wants the next title shot against UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, and he believes his UFC 215 victory over Neil Magny may have solidified it for him.

Former UFC lightweight champ dos Anjos (27-9 MMA, 16-7 UFC) improved to 2-0 since he moved up to 170 pounds earlier this year, when he earned a first-round submission win over Neil Magny (19-6 MMA, 12-5 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 215 co-main event, which took place at Rogers Center in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Dos Anjos was already on the cusp of a fight with Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) at UFC 214 in July when he was pegged as an alternate if top contender Demian Maia would’ve been unable to fight at the event. Maia ended up taking the fight and lost an underwhelming unanimous decision to the champion. With no clear-cut No. 1 contender in the division, dos Anjos thinks he has a good chance of sliding into position as the next challenger.

“This division’s wide open; all the top-five, top-six guys in this division have lost to the champion or to the last challenger, which was Demian Maia,” dos Anjos said after UFC 215. “(Stephen) Thompson lost twice to Woodley already. I’m the new blood in this division. I was getting ready to fight Woodley if Maia didn’t take the fight, but he ended up taking the fight. But I was getting ready for it, so here I am.”

Dos Anjos, 32, plans to take some time off after competing twice in a three-month stretch, but he said that works perfectly since Woodley is nursing a shoulder injury coming out of the fight with Maia. UFC President Dana White said after UFC 214 that ex-champ Robbie Lawler could be next in line, but it was far from a definite.

Given his one-sided performance over Magny at UFC 215 and the fact Woodley already holds a first-round knockout of Lawler, dos Anjos thinks he’s the most probable candidate.

“I’m the former lightweight champion looking forward to being a two-division champion,” dos Anjos said. “I know Woodley has an injury, but I need some time off now. I fought three months ago in Singapore. I just fought now. I was preparing for Woodley, but Maia took the fight. I don’t want to lose what I was training already, so I called (UFC matchmaker Sean) Shelby and said, ‘Hey, I want to fight, if you have somebody.’ Then the opportunity with Neil Magny came up.

“We’ll see. My goal is to fight for the title.”

One thing dos Anjos said he has going for him is the challenge he brings Woodley. “The Chosen One” has received criticism for his past two title defenses, against Maia and Thompson, and dos Anjos promised there would be no complaints about a lack of action.

“One thing I can be sure, is we’re going to fight,” dos Anjos said. “I’m not going to let him walk around, and I’m going to make sure I push the pace. I’m not saying I will not use my strategy. Of course I will. But I will walk forward. I have confidence in me, in my cardio, and I’m going to make him work.”

For complete coverage of UFC 215, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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