LAS VEGAS – Rafael dos Anjos wants his next fight to be one that excites him. Like so many other fighters, the name Conor McGregor gets his competitive juices flowing.

Shortly after his UFC 272 win over Renato Moicano at T-Mobile Arena, dos Anjos (31-13 MMA, 20-11 UFC) took a look at the landscape of the lightweight and welterweight divisions and perceived McGregor (22-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) is the one that makes sense next.

“It looks like Islam (Makhachev) is going to fight Beneil Dariush,” dos Anjos told MMA Junkie and other reporters at a post-fight news conference. “He had a chance to fight me tonight and he didn’t. At 170 pounds, I took that fight. They (didn’t). I don’t know. It looks like Conor is coming back in the summer. That could be a good one. A title fight is already scheduled. We’ll see, man. A lot of things can happen.

“I just want to be active. I want to be training. I need good names. I’ve been in this game for so many years and fought everybody in two divisions. I need names that make me want to go to the gym and train hard for it. That’s what I want.”

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Dos Anjos’ comments Saturday came exactly six years from the date of the event he was scheduled to fight McGregor on, UFC 196. The bout never happened. Then-lightweight champ dos Anjos withdrew due to a foot injury. He was replaced by Nate Diaz, who shocked the world as a short-notice replacement when he submitted McGregor.

Although their paths have gone in very different directions since and both men have had ups and downs, dos Anjos thinks the stars have realigned. They both have bounced between lightweight and welterweight in recent years. Dos Anjos returned Saturday from 16 months of inactivity. McGregor eyes a July 2022 return after 12 months of recovery from injury.

“I think the moment that we live in right now, that fight would make a lot of sense,” dos Anjos said. “I was on a 16-month layoff. Conor broke his leg and is coming back in the summer, I think. That would make sense. The division is kind of crazy right now and I think that fight would make a lot of sense. … That would be a big money fight, of course. We have a history, too. Like I said, I’m looking for names that make me want to go to the gym and train. It’s been so many years in this game. I don’t want to fight names that don’t interest me, that don’t push me to go to the gym. I’m 37 years old. (I’ve) fought pretty much everybody in two divisions.”

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While some analysts may forecast the matchup as one dos Anjos will try to drag to the ground, he doesn’t necessarily bank on that. If he needs to strike with McGregor, he feels comfortable doing so.

“I have no problems trading punches with Conor,” dos Anjos said. “I think I have everything it takes. I’m pretty comfortable in the standup. I know he’s got a dangerous game, but I will do my game – just mix it up. But I have no problems to trade at all.”


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