American-Brazilian fighter Rafael dos Anjos is primed to face Paul Felder in the main event of UFC Fight Night this Saturday at the APEX Center in Las Vegas. Dos Anjos will be returning to the lightweight division for the first time in four years, where a fresh start is needed for the 36-year old.
Dos Anjos sported an even 4-4 record in the welterweight division winning his first three before going 1-4 in the next five fights. Those included losses to Colby Covington for the UFC Interim Welterweight Championship in June of 2018. A win over Felder can resolidify him as a threat for the lightweight title despite not having a fight at 155 since a unanimous decision loss to Tony Ferguson in November of 2016.
There is one man who’s on his radar that he was as scheduled to fight, but was sidelined with a broken foot. That man would be Conor McGregor. The two had a heated press conference shortly after the announcement was made for them to fight. And when dos Anjos had a 3-0 start at 170, McGregor’s name was brought up again. Again, the fight wasn’t formulated. It’s been a lingering feeling that hasn’t left him. Being in the UFC for 29 fights and winning 18, it would feel more accomplished for him to build on his career against a polarizing figure he once had crossed words with.
“We got close twice,” dos Anjos told MMAFighting.com. “I think that’s the fight that a lot of fans want to see, especially with me returning to lightweight. We were scheduled to fight, and unfortunately, it’s a combat sport. I broke my foot, but here I am again, training hard, working hard and I can’t wait.”
It would be a big boost for the Rio de Janeiro native to get a win against a bold challenger like Felder, who replaced Islam Makhachev after sidelined with an undisclosed injury. To rejuvenate talks for a fight against McGregor would mean a convincing performance against the Philadelphia native. Despite the fact that there is no title on the line, both men still have a lot they’re shooting for. Felder, who is looking for a win after taking the fight on five days’ notice, and dos Anjos, who wants a shot at “The Notorious” again.
McGregor will face Dustin Poirier on January 23 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, along with wanting to face Manny Pacquiao later next year. Will he have time to face a supposed rival that he never fought in Dos Anjos?
UFC Fight Night will air on ESPN+ at 4 PM ET at the APEX Center in Las Vegas this Saturday afternoon.