Orlando, FL – Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos returns to the welterweight division and takes on Bryan Barberena at UFC Orlando on Saturday night at Amway Center.
Dos Anjos (31-14) had returned to 155 pounds, but after a KO loss to Rafael Fiziev in July, “RDA” made his move back to the welterweight division.
“I moved back to Brazil, and I decide to go back to lightweight. It’s not easy for me. Then I had my last loss against Fiziev. I had my last title run in that division, you know? Looking to fight the comfortable weight for me right now,” dos Anjos told the press on Wednesday.
Dos Anjos returned to lightweight following a loss to Michael Chiesa in Jan. 2020 and defeated Paul Felder and Renato Moicano before the Fiziev bout.
“Before the fight you see I fought Moicano. I was scheduled to fight Fiziev in February, and then I fought Moicano and they put that matchup with Fiziev in July again because nobody want to fight Fiziev, and I was the only guy that accepted,” he said.
“Because of these rankings, the top 5 little club, they just want to fight between them. Then I had to take the fight with Fiziev again and I lost the fight. I say ‘Hey man, you can take me out of the rankings.’ I’ll fight at welterweight.”
Would that leave a door open for a return to lightweight should the top 5 open up a bit? Dos Anjos wasn’t so sure.
“Just for, you know, some very specific fights that I have in mind. I’ll do that again, but yeah I don’t have plans to win the title in that division anymore. I’ll be honest with you. But like couple guys that, if it is in a good momentum for me, on my personal life as well. I will take the fight, but as of now I have Bryan Barberena this Saturday,” said dos Anjos.
“I’m staying at welterweight.”
Barberena (18-8) comes into UFC Orlando on a three-fight win streak and looks to add another champion to his resume this Saturday following the win over former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler at UFC 276.
“I’m happy with that matchup. He’s coming on 3-win streak. He’s a guy that fights forward and he’s the type of fight that I like. Being 3 rounds, I think in my last 8 fights 7 of them was 5 rounds if I’m not wrong, so it was good a little break too fighting 3 rounds,” he said.
“Preparation’s little easier too and yeah I’m happy with that matchup.”
Barberena is known to get into wars with opponents turning him into a fan favorite, but wars are nothing dos Anjos hasn’t seen before.
“I think getting to wars is part of it you know, like once we start fighting and the instincts come and we just like fight. He’s a guy that has a lot of will to win, and I do so,” said dos Anjos.
“It’ll be a great matchup for the fans.”
Watch the entire media day scrum with Rafael dos Anjos above. RDA takes on Bryan Barberena in the co-main event of UFC Orlando on Saturday night.