Rafael dos Anjos is a prideful UFC fighter. The Brazilian lightweight holds his team and family in the highest regards and counts on them to climb the ranks of the UFC’s 155-pound division.
When he faces Donald Cerrone at UFC on Fox Sports 1 #2 in Indianapolis, dos Anjos will have another chance to take a step towards lightweight stardom. If he gets past Cerrone, then he’ll get closer to competing for UFC gold and accomplishing the goal he most desires: representing Brazil as UFC lightweight champion.
Check out excerpts from GRACIEMAG.com’s exclusive interview with Rafael dos Anjos:
GRACIEMAG: Have you started camp for the Cerrone fight and how is it going?
RAFAEL DOS ANJOS: Yeah, I don’t stop fighting. I’m always training. After my last fight, I just took 10 days off, but I’ve been training since.
When you got the call about the fight, what went through your mind? Did you say ‘this will shoot me up the rankings” or do you not really care about that kind of thing?
When I got this call, I said, ‘this is a good fight for me.’ He’s higher than me in the rankings. If I beat him, I’m going to be in a good place in the rankings. But I’m not thinking about that. Right now I’m just thinking I have to be in good shape, go there and do my job.
Looking at the UFC rankings, you’re now in the top 10. If you continue your win streak, it means that a title shot may be relatively close. What does that mean to you?
It means a lot. It’s my dream to become the first Brazilian lightweight champion. In Brazil, we’ve never had a chance to hold the belt. This is motivation and that’s my goal and I’m going to go hard for that.
Cerrone is a guy that’s been around for a long time, made a lot of waves from his time in the WEC to now. How do you see yourself doing in a fight with him and where do you see an advantage for yourself?
He’s a complete fighter that has a good Jiu-Jitsu game, and one of those guys that’s good standing up. But man, I think my Jiu-Jitsu – I think I’m more prepared for this fight. I’ve been training hard with the best partners, the best coach … I’m real motivated for this fight and I will do my best.
How important is it for you to have a strong camp/team like the one you have at Kings MMA?
Actually, it’s not just a camp; it’s more like a family over there. We have a strong team and everybody wants to help each other. No one wants to hurt each other. You go to other places and people just want to hurt people. You go to [Kings MMA] and everybody cares about their partners. We have a strong family and strong team. That, I think, is the most important.
How big of an accomplishment would it be to represent Brazil as a UFC champion?
I always say that to become a champion is not the [hardest] part. The worst is keeping the belt … It’s harder to hold the belt. To hold that belt … and represent my team, my family, that means a lot to me.