Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos has been forced to withdraw from his upcoming bout with Islam Makhachev at UFC 267.
MMA Junkie's John Morgan and Mike Bohn were the first to report the news confirming dos Anjos' withdrawal with Makhachev's manager, Ali Abdelaziz, after the pair engaged in a back and forth over Twitter where dos Anjos said he needed surgery for an undisclosed "terrible injury" he had recently suffered.
Do you really think I would fake a surgery? Coming out of another terrible injury. Unlike you I have a family that depends on me and I don’t have another man paying my bills. https://t.co/PDvQ2rhZsq— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) September 26, 2021
However, dos Anjos spoke with Sherdog's Marcelo Alonso and told him that the operation he received was an arthroscopic procedure on his knee and he hopes to still be healthy in time to make the fight with Makhachev happen next month.
“I'm already walking without crutches, in 10 days I need to be able to do sparring,” dos Anjos said. “I’m a fighter; I always want to fight. We already told the UFC what happened. By the way, the UFC was great at paying for all my surgery expenses. But of course, I can't decide alone. I have to hear from my trainer, my doctor, and physiotherapist. We must make the final decision in one week.”
This could be another major hit to the promotion's next pay-per-view event on October 30 in Abu Dhabi, coming on the heels of UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling being forced out of his rematch against former champion Petr Yan in what was scheduled to be the night's co-main event, due to lingering neck issues. Abdelaziz did tell MMA Junkie that he's hoping the UFC can get either former interim UFC lightweight champion Tony Ferguson or Dan Hooker to step in and face Makhachev next month.
Ferguson is currently on a three-fight losing streak and dropped a unanimous decision to Beneil Dariush at UFC 262 in his last outing, whereas Hooker is coming off a much-needed unanimous decision win over Nasrat Haqparast at this past weekend's UFC 266 event. Makhachev however, has won eight fights in a row and is looking to build off of his latest Octagon appearance, where he submitted Thiago Moises in the fourth round via a rear-naked choke at UFC Vegas 31. There is no word yet on if either matchup is even possible to make at this time.