RDS on his chances to fight Islam Makhachev
Rafael dos Anjos is scheduled to face Mateusz Gamrot on UFC 299 on March 3 in Miami, Florida. And thus this was one of the topics he was questioned about during his interview on the most recent edition of the Jaxxon Podcast. Anjos acknowledged the Polish fighter as a challenge, but also as a step towards his encounter with Islam Makhachev.
Mateusz Gamrot is a fellow featherweight competitor, who sports a 23 – 2 MMA record. Like his opponent, the Pole fighter is no stranger to the championship gold, as he was a two-division KSW champion in both featherweight and lightweight weight classes. After joining the UFC back in 2020 he won six out of 8 of his last fights.
The former UFC titleholder was impressed by Gamrot and stated that he was big enough of a challenge to consider slimming down to the featherweight weight-class limit. Especially, when you consider the fact, that Gamrot was a backup fighter for a lightweight title fight between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 294 :
“Yeah, I’ve kinda promised myself that I will not make 155 again unless it was a big fight. But I like the challenge, you know? I like the challenge and I think he was on… on the last fight he was there, making weight as a backup. And so it means he was one step from the title, right? Fighting him and beating him… make me real close to that title shot.”
Next Rafael dos Anjos put his retrospection on a series of events that led to the cancelation of all his potential fights against Islam Makhachev. They were first scheduled to fight at UFC 254 in a bout serving as don Anjos return to the lightweight division. The second bout was set to take place at UFC UFC 267. However this time dos Anjos was the one who withdrew due to injury:
“Specially having the history that I’m having with Islam already. We had couple fights canceled. I think like we were scheduled to fight three times. First fight I’ve got COVID, couldn’t make to Abu Dhabi.They rescheduled the fight for three weeks later in Las Vegas. Islam pulled out from the fight one week on Tuesday. He didin’t say why, Paul Felder jumped in. And then we’ve got rescheduled and I tore my meniscus.”
This detour led to dos Anjos fighting Rafael Fiziev. Unfortunately for both of them, Fiziev couldn’t make it due to visa issues. When finally the two of them squared against one another at UFC Vegas 58 it was Fiziev who was victorious. The Kazakhstan fighter stopped the former champion in the fifth round with his punches. Still, a bout against Islam Makhachev was eluding dos Anjos:
“And then later on I was scheduled to fight Fiziev. Fiziev got COVID like two weeks later, couldn’t make it to the fight and Islam said, he offered to fight at 170. And I said ok, done deal…I went to bed, slept, wake up next day, made a big sandwich. Naturally to have breakfast. By the time I was about to, since it was a weight class above, and by that time I was about to eat my breakfast. My manager came down screaming ‘don’t it, don’t it… Islam pulled out.” Here he ran again, so we’ve got history. Beating Gamrot – big chance to fight Islam.”
Interestingly enough Mateusz Gamrot managed to stop Fiziev in the second round of their encounter at UFC 79. So at least in that aspect, he holds an advantage over Rafael dos Anjos. And maybe dos Anjos is right and victory over Pole could put him next in line for a lightweight title shot, but the same could be said for Gamrot, who climbs the lightweight ranks quite fast.