After suffering two consecutive defeats, Rafael dos Anjos returned to the win column last night at UFC Fight Night Rochester.
Taking on former Lightweight standout Kevin Lee in the event’s headline bout, dos Anjos wore his foe down and eventually forced the 4th round submission via Arm-Triangle Choke. This particular pressure was somewhat familiar for dos Anjos but that doesn’t make the win any less satisfying for the former 155 lbs champion.
“My debut in the UFC, I lost two in a row,” dos Anjos recalled. "Before I moved up a division, I lost two in a row, and I’m not gonna lie to you guys. I was under a lot of pressure. But it’s good to be back in the winning path,” he told ESPN+ in his post-fight interview.
The victory wasn’t easy though, with Lee setting an exhausting pace that eventually cost him, as dos Anjos outlasted the division newcomer in a grueling main event affair. “Kevin, he’s a tough guy, but he wasn’t ranked. He came up a division now and I think that was a good fight to put me on the winning path,” he said.
As for what’s next, dos Anjos’ sights remain firmly set on the Welterweight crown. “I see the interim champion will fight the champion right now, probably. I’m just open. I’m not sticking too much with the rankings right now, but I have this desire in me.
“I want to be champion one day and if I don’t believe that I’m not gonna be a champion, I’m gonna stop fighting. I’m gonna quit this sport. I still believe I can make it and I’m going to work. I’m working hard on it . . . I needed that (win tonight). My last win inside the Octagon was 18 months ago against Robbie Lawler, December 2017. I feel great, it’s a big weight off of my back.”
Whether dos Anjos eventually becomes 170lbs champion or not, his stature as an elite contender remains undeniable. After suffering defeats to Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman respectively, dos Anjos reminded the world of his quality last night in Rochester.