Here's hoping the third time is the charm for former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos and Islam Makhachev, as they're booked to fight once again.
ESPN's Brett Okamoto first reported the news of the matchup between the two lightweight contenders, saying both sides have agreed to a bout at UFC 267 on October 30. The event currently doesn't have a location or venue, but according to Okamoto's report, the promotion is targeting Abu Dhabi as the host for the card.
Makhachev is currently riding an eight-fight winning streak and hasn't lost since October 2015. He defeated Thiago Moises via a fourth-round submission due to a rear-naked choke in his first main event spot at UFC Vegas 31 in his most recent appearance. The Dagestan native was all for making this fight next after the victory over Moises, but was hesitant that dos Anjos would accept the fight, saying the following about a potential bout with RDA.
“RDA is good for me next, but this guy always ran,” Makhachev said (h/t MMAJunkie). “Now he says, ‘I want to fight with Conor or Khabib, and last week, Conor slapped him at the weigh-in, and he did nothing. This guy always ran. This guy is old. Yeah, I understand him. He want to make money, but I want to help him retire.”
Since winning the lightweight title from Anthony Pettis back at UFC 185 in March 2015, dos Anjos has gone just 6-6 in his last 12 fights. However, he did make a successful return to 155 pounds in his latest Octagon outing, defeating Paul Felder via a split-decision at UFC Vegas 14. While Makhachev seemed to doubt dos Anjos' willingness to fight him, the Brazillian contender doesn't seem to see it that way and has been taking into account the things Makhachev has been saying about him. He even requested the promotion make the matchup five rounds but says that it didn't work out unfortunately because Makhachev doesn't want to fight for 25 minutes.
"Islam doesn't want to fight five rounds," dos Anjos said (h/t ESPN). "That was my request, but it didn't work out. So, fine. Let's do three then. He's been talking a lot of crap -- let's see who is who now. I'm ready to go. This is a title eliminator [in] my eyes."